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The Independent Online
FIRES HAVE engulfed several thousand acres of land in central Russia since the onset of hot, dry weather in late spring.

Some 14,926 acres of forests have been destroyed by the 3,905 fires registered in the area, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin recently estimated the overall grain harvest would be 60 million tons, down from previous forecasts of 70 million tons.