I really didn’t think it was possible for the smoke in Moscow to get worse, but Russia continues to surprise.
More fires have sprung up overnight, bringing the total to 853, up from 831. 52 people are dead. Somehow, the Emergency Ministry Services have only now decided to start putting out the peat-bog fires around the capital on a 24-hour basis. The rest of the country’s emergency staff and vehicles are out en force — hundreds of thousands of people, tens of thousands of vehicles — but the area is simply too big and the choices the responders make are often infuriating. The commander of the naval aviation station that burned down outside of Moscow a few days ago told LifeNews that he called for help for hours, and no one came. “There was no one from the Emergency Ministry, no police, there was no one with us,” he said. “But the dachas for $1.5 million they saved. Those had screens and police.”
The visibility is even worse today (check out this web cam). Crossing one of the bridges over the Moscow River on the metro this morning felt like zooming through a glass of milk — all white on all sides. The State Department is warning Americans not to travel to Russia until September 5, and there are disputed rumors that the Germans have closed their embassy and that diplomats are fleeing. And except for the few smokers outside, it seems a lot of people have, too.