Wildfires in eastern Siberia have killed at least 23 people over the past few days, the BBC reported.
An estimated 5,000 people have been left homeless as the flames engulfed dozens of villages in the eastern region of Khakassia over the weekend, ABC News reported.
Authorities said human carelessness – with local farmers burning dry grass amid hot temperatures and strong winds – sparked the fire, according to the Agence France-Presse.
In the city of Chita, visibility was reported to have been reduced to 660-990 feet as smoke from the fire intensified, according to the BBC.
Viktor Zimin, the leader of the Khakassia region, told Reuters the fires have caused $96 million in damages so far.
Wildfires in the warmer months are a common occurrence in Russia. During the country's worst ever heatwave in 2010, the capital, Moscow, became engulfed in a blanket of smoke. At the time scientists said the death rate in the city increased by 50%, according to The Guardian newspaper.