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U.S. Firefighting Aid Arrives In Moscow As Fire Threat To Nuclear Center Fades

A Russian Emergencies Ministry airplane drops water over a forest fire outside the town of Shatura, southeast of Moscow, on August 12.
Three U.S. aircraft carrying firefighting aid have arrived in Moscow to help Russians battle wildfires of historic proportions.

Two massive U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes touched down at Vnukovo airport, followed by a charter flight from California ordered by state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"After close consultation between the Russian government, the United States began the deliveries of firefighting equipment valued at approximately $2.5 bolster Russia's fire suppression efforts," said U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Eric Rubin. "These deliveries will include water tanks, pumps, hand tools, fire protective clothing, and medical kits."

Two additional C-130 flights are expected to arrive in Russia in the next few days and another charter flight is expected in the coming week.

The deliveries came amid concerns over a fire raging close to Russia's main nuclear research center in Sarov, but Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said the situation has stabilized.

"We can say today for sure there is no nuclear risk, no radioactive threat, and that there is not even an ecological threat on Sarov territory," he said.

Across central and western Russia, authorities hope to see the end of weeks of ferocious wildfires, which have killed more than 50 people.

compiled from agency reports