Russia's relentless heat wave and ensuing wildfires have transformed the west of the country into something resembling a massive apocalyptic film setting, with eerie smog unfurling itself onto the streets of Moscow.
Some 48 people have so far been killed by the fires, which have also destroyed entire villages, displacing 3,500.
A month after the heat wave began, the country has yet to experience relief from its hottest temperatures since records began to be kept 130 years ago. Temperatures have been hitting 40°C - around eight degrees higher than normal - since early July.
On Monday August 2 President Dmitry Medvedev declared a state of emergency in seven of the worst-affected regions. He also received international aid in the form of two helicopters and two military aircraft from Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Evgeniy Shmukler lives in the Gol'Yanovo quarter in north-east Moscow.
It seems like the authorities are dealing with the situation well, but I don't know much; that's just what's said in the press. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is not really in charge here, it's Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu. As far as I know he's doing a good job.
It's true that we haven't got a precise heat wave death count, but I don't think that's what Russians are looking for. This is not France."
Reduced visibility due to the smog on Tuesday. Video posted by our Observer under the pseudonym Nobody1313131313 on YouTube 3 August 2010.
The following morning (Wednesday), the smog is even thicker. Video posted by our Observer on YouTube, 4 août 2010.
Andrei Hartly is also from Moscow.
The government says they'll compensate victims [Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised 200,000 roubles (€15,000) per victim], which is a nice gesture. That said, the cost of a house varies. For some, that amount of money will build them a new house. But for others, it won't make much difference, and they'll buy a car or something else instead. At least the government is reacting.
Right now, the only thing we all really want is for it to rain."
Smoke from the fire in the Moscow forest. Photo posted by mitya on Flickr 3 August 2010...
...and the way Moscow looks normally. Photo posted on Flickr by mitya 18 Dec. 2006.