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Vladimir region blanketed in thick smoke from raging wildfire

08-03-2010 10:45 BJT Special Report:Forest Fires Ravage Russia |

MOSCOW, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The highway leading to the Vladimir region east of Moscow, where wildfire has been raging for days, is blanketed in smoke, which turns thicker and thicker with every mile of driving.

The burnt cottage is pictured after a forest fire in a village some 150 kilometers south of Moscow, capital of Russia, Aug. 2, 2010. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday declared emergency state in seven regions engulfed by wildfires that have claimed at least 34 people and left thousands of others homeless. (Xinhua/Wei Dafang)
The burnt cottage is pictured after a forest fire in a village some 150 kilometers 
south of Moscow, capital of Russia, Aug. 2, 2010. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev 
on Monday declared emergency state in seven regions engulfed by wildfires that have 
claimed at least 34 people and left thousands of others homeless. (Xinhua/Wei Dafang)
Approaching the town of Noginsk, where the Russian Emergency Ministry's principal base is located, drivers have to turn on their cars' fog lamps and switch the air conditioners to internal circulation mode, in order to prevent the turbid smoke from coming in.

It is difficult to see through the smog, and it is hard to breathe outside.

Actually, many drivers have opted to make a U-turn there, some 67 km east of the Russian capital, trying to bypass the area via some side roads.

It is still a tricky task. Many side roads have been ditched, to stop cars from getting into unsafe areas in the woods, after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin demanded governors of the fire-stricken regions to restrain residents from visiting the forests.

"Citizens' negligence costs too much for us," said Putin.

And for tens of thousands of local residents, there is no place to escape or switch to. According to the Health Ministry, the number of people killed by the fire in six regions has so far climbed up to 40.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday declared a state of emergency in seven regions engulfed by the wildfires, and restricted citizens' entries to certain areas.

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