Rains cool Moscow down

For the past few weeks the capital of Russia was suffering from unbearable heat. But finally heavy downpours cooled Moscow today, to the delight of the people there.

Despite the heavy rain, dozens of wildfires still rage around the city.

Moscow was released of of the clouds of suffocating smog that affected it earlier, but weather experts say smoke from burning forests may choke the city later today if the wind direction changes.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said its teams have managed to reduce the area covered by wildfires, but more than 500 are still continuing to burn across the country, including 29 around Moscow. It said about 14,000 firefighters are battling blazes around the Russian capital.

Also there is a new wilfire in Sarov, 300 miles east of Moscow. The blaze spread quickly making the firefighters in the region to ask for help from neighbouring areas.

Earlier this month massive wildfires around Sarov prompted the nation’s nuclear agency to move all explosive and radioactive material as a precaution. Even aircraft and robots helped to halt the fire.

Another potential danger comes from the areas contaminated by Chernobyl (Ukraine), where the nuclear disaster took place in 1986. There may be raised radioactive particles into the air and spread over broader territory.

The national weather service today said it had sent a team of radiation experts to constantly monitor the radiation level in the western Bryansk region, the area of Russian Federation that suffered most from the Chernbyl disaster.

The heat, unprecedented in 130 years cost Russia more than a third of its wheat crop and motivated the government to ban wheat exports through the end of the year.

Domestic prices in Russia also have been rising and the export has not driven them down. Officials have registered a 10% price hike in Moscow in the retail prices for bread in late July-early August period.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met today with the head of the nation’s anti-monopoly agency, Igor Artemyev, and told him to punish those who try to raise prices.

Artemyev said that the companies that engage in “undue” price hikes could face the fine of up to 15% of their total sales volume on annual basis.

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