Wildfires leave hundreds of towns cloaked in dense smoke
Hundreds of Russian towns and cities were shrouded in heavy smoke from wildfires in Siberia and the Far East, and the blazes appeared to be spreading in remote terrain.
Avialesookhrana, Russia's aerial forest protection service, said more than 30,000 square kilometres were on fire, with the vast majority in areas that are hard to reach and where potential damage is likely to be less than the cost of fighting them.
Although the fires have not hit populated areas, heavy smoke from them is affecting about 800 communities, officials said, including the large cities of Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita.
Footage on Russian television showed planes dumping water on fires that were belching smoke amid vast stretches of trees. Firemen on the ground sprayed thin water streams on small fire remnants.
States of emergency have been declared in the regions of Irkutsk, Buryatia, Sakha and Krasnoyarsk.