Moscow: The worst smog to hit Moscow in almost a decade has sent pollution soaring 10 times above safe levels, an air monitoring service said yesterday, as firemen reported success extinguishing the peat fires causing the smoke.

A heatwave has engulfed central parts of European Russia since June, pushing temperatures in Moscow to their highest-ever level and sparking forest and peat fires across the country. Peat fires on the outskirts of Moscow have blanketed the city in its worst smog since 2002.

Crept into offices

The smoke's sharp, cinder-filled smell has crept into offices, homes and restaurants via windows and doors.

"The concentration of carbon monoxide and suspended particles in Moscow surged up to 10 times above the limit last night," Alexei Popikov, chief specialist at Mosekomonitoring, a city government agency overseeing air pollution, told Reuters.

He said the elderly and those suffering from heart disease should try and avoid contact with the smog.

Moscow hit an absolute temperature record Monday with 37.4 degrees Celsius and was bracing for another high yesterday.