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Fires destroy homes in Russian heatwave

Fires destroy homes in Russian heatwave
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Forest fires have raged through parts of western and central Russia, destroying houses and forcing hundreds from their homes.

The authorities say at least 23 people have been killed.

It comes as much of central and western Russia is gripped by soaring temperatures.

Those reported killed were in the Voronezh region and included a firefighter. The other region affected is Nizhny Novgorod.

One woman from the village of Maslovka said she had lost everything. “My house has burnt down. The garage has burnt down, the hangar has burnt down, everything has burnt down,” she said.

More than 800 houses were destroyed in all.
Patients were moved from hospitals, children from summer camps and tourists from recreation zones.

“We register up to 150 fires a day,” said Igor Vlaznev, a fire chief in Voronezh. “All of them are caused by dry grass, dry forests. the fires spread through the villages, farms and fields.”

Temperatures have topped 35 degrees during the past five weeks, sparking the fires and causing what is thought to be the worst drought for nearly 40 years.

The Moscow region has suffered its worst heatwave in decades; the Russian capital recording its hottest day on record. Smog has gripped the city and pollution is several times the usual level.

Meanwhile reports say temperatures in Voronezh are set to top 40 degrees this weekend.

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