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Dozens die as Russia battles forest fires

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Dozens die as Russia battles forest fires


The worst heatwave since records began 130 years ago has ignited hundreds of forest fires across west and central Russia, leaving a trail of smoke and devastation.

At least 48 people have died so far and thousands have been left homeless.

Winds have sent a blanket of smog over Moscow, the haze reaching the subway system.

Some who have lost everything think the government should have done more to protect them:

“We stayed in the house until the last possible minute. We only left when the fire began to engulf the whole village. We couldn’t carry anything, we left everything. There was only one fire engine there, what use was that? They should have put the fires out when they started. Everything is in flames here, I don’t know how long it will last. Even the trees are coming down.” said one woman in the village of Kadonok.

Thousands of local firefighters are doing all they can, backed up by troops and civil defence workers drafted in by the Kremlin.

Officials say the fires are now under control.

There is a state of emergency in only seven provinces now – down from 27 last week.

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