August 13, 2010 / 10:46 AM / 9 years ago

Smoke from Russian wildfires reaches Kazakhstan

ALMATY (Reuters) - Smoke from Russia’s deadly wildfires has spread into northern regions of Kazakhstan but poses no immediate danger to residents, the Kazakh Emergencies Ministry said on Friday.

Black smoke had reached the city of Kostanai, about 100 km (63 miles) from the border with Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, said a ministry spokesman, Eldor Raimbekov.

“The smoke has entered some border areas,” Raimbekov said. “There is no threat to the population. The smoke could clear again today, depending on the prevailing winds.”

Russia’s deadly summer heat wave, the worst on record, could wipe $14 billion off its economic growth this year, economists said this week. Weather forecasters say the heat has lasted for an uninterrupted 50 days in Moscow and central Russia.

Smoke from Russian peat fires have enveloped Moscow in thick smog.

Drought has also destroyed about one-quarter of Russia’s grain crop this year, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, pushing some farmers to the brink of bankruptcy and hurting Russia’s effort to expand food exports.

Western regions of Kazakhstan have also been affected by drought, with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and crops destroyed on more than half of the sown area in some provinces.

However, Kazakhstan’s main grain-growing regions in the north of the country have escaped the worst of the drought.

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