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Heat, Fires and Smoke Kill Dozens in Russia August 6, 2010
Satellite Image
Smoke from the various Russian fire sources covers thousands of square miles.
The hottest July temperatures in western Russia since record-keeping began during the time of the tsars set the stage for disastrous firestorms across the region.

Many were sparked by discarded cigarettes, campfires and barbecues.

Dozens of people have perished in the blazes, which covered 420,000 acres and have also forced about 100,000 people from their homes.

Blazes reached the gates of Russia’s closed city of Sarov, where the country’s nuclear bombs are developed.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered soldiers to dig trenches and fell trees to create fire breaks around military installations and nuclear power plants.

The 50 peat bog fires that have ringed Moscow for weeks have created a choking pall of smoke that threatens public health in the capital.

The blocking weather pattern responsible for the heat and fires is not expected to shift until late August.

Photo: NASA MODIS Rapid Response System