MOSCOW – Firefighters used aircraft to battle blazes which raged in forests on the eastern fringe of Moscow yesterday, sending smog rolling across the capital for the second time this summer.
A morning haze shrouded buildings in the city for a third straight day as emergency services tackled fires burning across more than 500 hectares (1,250 acres) of forest and brushland. Central Moscow was blanketed in a similar cloud of smog for two weeks in July.
A spokeswoman for Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said the number of areas subject to fires was slightly down overnight, but firefighters were still encountering major difficulties. She said an Ilyushin-76 cargo plane capable of carrying 42 tonnes of water had already been in action, along with a Mi-8 helicopter with a five-tonne capacity. A second helicopter had been brought in for fire-spotting.
City officials say the haze, which tends to dissipate later in the day, poses no danger to health. One Moscow doctor, speaking to Reuters, noted only a slight increase in minor eye and nose complaints.