UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said on Tuesday that he was saddened by the loss of life and suffering caused the fires outside the Russian capital of Moscow.
A statement, issued by Ban's spokesman, said: "The secretary- general is saddened by the loss of life and suffering caused by the fires that have affected the territory of the Russian Federation outside Moscow. He extends his deepest condolences to the families of those who have died or been injured."
"The secretary-general is aware of the tremendous efforts being undertaken by the government of the Russian Federation to bring the situation under control," the statement said. "He reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to assist in any way in this effort should it be required."
As of Monday morning, 557 wildfires continued to burn in Russia, 25 of them peat fires, the Russian officials said.
While 239 fires were extinguished on Sunday, 247 new ones were discovered, reports said.
The head of the Russian state weather service, Alexander Frolov, said on Monday that the heatwave of 2010 was the worst in 1,000 years of recorded Russian history.
As a result of the fires, the concentration of carbon monoxide in Moscow was still more than double acceptable safety norms on Monday as smog from peat and forest wildfires continued to blanket the city.
Temperatures of more than 35C (95F) are forecast for the city until Thursday, the reports said.
The Russian government officials said that the death rate in Moscow for July rose by up to 50 percent compared with the same period last year.
On normal days, between 360 and 380 die -- now it's around 700, the officials said, adding that Moscow had 1,500 places in its morgues and 1,300 of these were currently occupied.
Since the second half of July, at least 52 deaths in Russia as a whole have been attributed directly to fires, which have destroyed hundreds of rural homes, the reports said.