Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34
A record heat wave has dried Russian forests and fields to a crisp.
Moscow: Russia`s Emergencies Ministry says 34 people are known to have died in the recent wave of wildfires, which have destroyed hundreds of homes but are thought to be slowly dying down.
Vladimir Stepanov, who heads the Emergencies Ministry`s crisis response centre, said in televised comments that nationwide 500 new fires had been registered in the past 24 hours, but most of them were immediately doused.
Officials over the weekend said 28 people had died in the fires, which by Sunday were engulfing an area equivalent to 316,000 acres (128,000 hectares). Stepanov said on Monday the number had shrunk by a further 7,000 acres.
About 1,500 homes have been wiped out as fires have torn through Central and Western Russia, boosted by a record heat wave that has dried forests and fields to a crisp.