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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Heavy Smog From Peat Bog Fires Disrupts Inbound Flights

Thick smog from smouldering peat shrouded Moscow on Tuesday, disrupting incoming flights and slowing traffic.

A Sheremetyevo Airport spokeswoman said planes on 19 flights, the majority domestic, had decided against leaving their home bases or had been diverted to St. Petersburg.

Visibility was down to 200 meters at the airport and news agencies said flights into Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports had also been disrupted.

"They are waiting in their home cities for visibility to improve, which it should do later today," the Sheremetyevo spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for soccer club Lokomotiv Moscow said the smog might be present during its Champions League fixture on Wednesday against Turkey's Galatasaray but would probably not be bad enough to affect play.

A UEFA official, he said, would make the final decision.

Smog from forest fires and smouldering peat has afflicted Moscow for much of the summer. But an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said rain and firefighting operations were now bringing the problem under control.

"The forest fires are already out in the Moscow area, and although 43 peat bogs are still burning, that's two less than yesterday," the spokesman said.

But an official at the Natural Resources Ministry said the smog could persist in Moscow for many more months.

"Peat fires can often continue smouldering even when covered in snow. So smoke clouds could well be covering Moscow well into winter," Viktor Kutsenko was quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta as saying.