Moscow Engulfed in Acrid Smog

Moscow Engulfed in Acrid Smog

14 October 2005

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Moscow — The Russian capital remained shrouded in a blanket of smog for a second day Thursday, and officials said forecast rain showers would bring little relief as winds continued to blow in smoke from peat fires in the surrounding region, the Moscow Times daily reported onFriday.

Moscow’s Red Square covered by smog

According to official forecasts, southwestern winds will keep on blowing over Moscow for the upcoming 5 days, and they are expected to bring more smoke and polluted air into Russia’s capital. The source of acrid smog, covering Moscow and much of its region, is in the southwestern part of Moscow’s suburbs, where forest fires started burning recently.

More than 500 firefighters were working to extinguish the fires Thursday, a majority of them in the region’s eastern Orekhovo-Zuyevsky district, where 10 fires were burning, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Oksana Brik said. “We can’t ever depend on rain to do the job,” Brik said, since rain can only help to put out forest fires, whereas a majority of the 20 fires in the Moscow region as of Thursday were peat bog fires, which smolder from within.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Moscow region fires were likely caused by intrepid mushroom gatherers. “I think you know that different types of mushrooms grow very well in peat bogs, … and people head out there en masse for such activities,” Shoigu told a State Duma session on Wednesday.


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