Smog Over Capital of Russia Worsens As Wildfires Rage

Wearing sanitary masks or clutching wet rags to their faces, Moscow residents struggled Saturday against the worst smog in living memory which has enveloped the Russian capital from spreading wildfires.

The concentration of toxic particles was up to five times higher than safe levels, experts warned, as the city's iconic landmarks like the Kremlin and golden church cupolas disappeared behind a layer of smoke.

The emergencies ministry warned that the wildfires which have sparked the smog were still spreading in central Russia as weather forecasters said Russia's worst heatwave in decades would continue for the next days, AFP reports.

The concentration of airborne pollutants such as carbon monoxide has further intensified and is at six times normal levels, according to city health officials — the worst seen to date in Moscow.

Visibility is down to a few hundred meters, and about a dozen flights bound for Moscow's Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports were diverted to other airports, The Associated Press says.

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