Wildfires tear through Russia

July 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM

TOMSK, Russia, July 27 (UPI) -- Russia's Emergencies Ministry announced Friday forest fires in Siberia have burned nearly 58 square miles of forest and have covered Tomsk in smoke.

About 3,000 firefighters, 412 pieces of firefighting equipment and 24 firefighting aircraft are being used to fight dozens of blazes, RIA Novosti reported.

The fires created thick smoke over Tomsk, forcing many flights at the Tomsk airport to be delayed or canceled.

"Our current standard for carbon monoxide is 5 milligrams. But on Friday morning, the figure stood at 10 milligrams, that is, twice as high," a Siberian ministry of natural resources official said.

Officials attribute the wildfires to unusually high temperatures in the region, but they have not ruled out arson.

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