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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fire Burns Harvest

MOSCOW -- Fires have engulfed several thousand hectares of land in central Russia since the onset of hot, dry weather in late spring, and flames continue to rage despite efforts to fight them, Itar-Tass reported Wednesday.

Some 6,043 hectares of forests in central Russia have been destroyed by the 3,905 fires registered in the area, Itar-Tass reported, citing regional firefighting authorities.

More than 6,700 firefighters are involved in battling the flames, but fires continued to rage Wednesday on 1,379 hectares, the news agency said.

Forest fires and drought have been blamed for the dismal harvest expected in Russia this year. Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin recently estimated the overall grain harvest would be 60 million tons, down from previous forecasts of 70 million tons.