Rockets moved as Russian wildfires spread

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A military garrison moved all of its rockets and artillery to a safer location as the death toll from wildfires sweeping the country rose to 50 yesterday.

Colonel Alexei Kuznetsov, a spokesman for the defence ministry, said the base near Naro-Fominsk, 72 kilometres south-west of Moscow, was not in immediate danger. But the decision to move the explosive materiel underlined the challenges posed by the hundreds of blazes which were still raging last night following weeks of intense heat and drought.

Last week, a wildfire caused substantial damage to a naval air base at Kolomna, 100km south-east of the capital. Russian media reported that up to 200 aircraft may have been destroyed.

Almost 600 fires were reported burning yesterday, mostly in the west of the country.