Health officials in Moscow are warning people to stay indoors and avoid the blanket of smog that has descended on the city as wildfires continue to burn on the outskirts of the Russian capital.
The mortality rate in Moscow soared by at least 30 per cent in July.
The city’s registry office recorded nearly five thousand more deaths than in the same period last year.
The smog has even permeated deep underground polluting the air in the metro system.
Moscow’s international airports have had to divert incoming aircraft to alternative destinations because of poor visibility.
Medical experts say the concentration of toxic particles in the air can be especially harmful to children and the elderly.
Yelena Lezina, from the Moscow Ecological Monitoring Service said: “Due to the current pollution levels, we strongly recommend people don’t go out in the street.
“You need to take all possible measures to lower the input of contaminants into your organisms. If you do go out make sure you use multi-layered gauze face masks. You should not ventilate your premises and take all possible precautions not to let smoke in.”
Hundreds of wildfires continue to burn across large parts of central Russia.
To prevent flames spreading to the Sarov nuclear facility Russian troops were ordered to dig an eight-kilometre long canal.
All explosive and radioactive material was moved from the location as a precautionary measure.
One of the world’s top grain producers, Russia has imposed a temporary ban on exports after crops were ruined in the heatwave sending world wheat prices soaring.