MOSCOW — A cold front hit western Russia yesterday, ending the exhausting two-month spell of heat and clearing skies over Moscow from suffocating smog.
Colder temperatures and rains are expected to help firefighters put out the wildfires that have bedeviled Russia through the summer.
The Emergency Situations Ministry said the amount of land on fire has been halved in the past 24 hours. It said fires burned yesterday on the territory of about 28,000 acres, nearly a 20th of the area they covered earlier this month when wildfires were at their peak.
The heat wave unseen in 130 years on record has triggered thousands of wildfires in Russia. Drought has cost Russia a third of its wheat crop, prompting the government to ban wheat exports through the year’s end.
More than 50 people have died in the wildfires across Russia, and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed.
The number of deaths recorded in Moscow had doubled to an average of 700 per day during the worst of the scorching heat and smog, city officials said.