Russia suffers new forest fire outbreak

Russian NTV pictures of a house burned out by forest fire in the Volgograd region
Image caption Hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the Volgograd region

At least four people have died in a new outbreak of wildfires in Russia.

In the south of the country fire swept through villages and towns, destroying hundreds of homes and other buildings.

Last month more than 50 people were killed in western Russia in the worst forest fires in many years, sparked by the most severe heatwave and drought ever recorded in Russia.

But while temperatures have eased in much of Russia, they are still high in the south, reaching almost 40C.

A spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry said the fires had been fanned by high winds.

At least 15 villages and towns have been affected in the Volgograd and Saratov regions, some 1,000km (600 miles) south-east of Moscow.

"Thousands of people are without shelter," an emergencies ministry spokeswoman told the Ria-Novosti news agency.

Meanwhile, east of Moscow, although there has been heavy rain and much cooler temperatures recently, peat fires are still burning, and firefighters are still hard at work trying to prevent another major outbreak of fires near the capital.

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