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Russian Forest Fires Fill Moscow With Smoke


Moscow and nearby Russian cities are filled with smog from forest and peat fires that have burned for more than week. VOA correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports from Moscow that the smoke is creating a health hazard for the young and the elderly.

Fires have been raging in the neighboring Ryazan region southeast of Moscow, and in the Vladimir region to the east. Although smoke has filled cities in both areas, officials say there are no fires in the urban areas or its immediate vicinity.

The deputy director of the Moscow Ecological Monitoring Agency, Evgeny Lukich, says pollution levels are three times the average, with increased concentrations of hydrocarbons and particulate matter.

Lukich says for now the situation is not critical, nonetheless, it impacts high risk groups, especially the elderly and children.

The haze has not shut down airports in Moscow. But Russia's NTV television network reports smoke obscured vision on a highway in the Moscow region, causing several accidents involving 45 vehicles and four fatalities.

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