Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called in the army to fight forest fires that have been raging across vast expanses of Siberia for days, enveloping entire cities in black smoke.
Around three million hectares of land in the centre and east of the country were in the grip of fires on Wednesday, authorities said.
The acrid smoke has affected not only small settlements but also major cities in Western Siberia and the Altai region, as well as the Urals such as Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, and disrupted air travel.
Some 2,700 firefighters were already working to tackle the blazes, Interfax news agency reported.
The defence ministry told news agencies that 10 planes and 10 helicopters had been dispatched to the Krasnoyarsk region, one of the worst affected.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised help and insisted the fires represented no “immediate danger” for the population, during a visit to Krasnoyarsk on Wednesday.