But state television reported that in some regions up to 20 new fires were being registered every day.

State of emergency

More than 10,000 firefighters were among the almost 250,000 people involved in tackling the fires in all, officials said.

In the industrial city of Togliatti, in central Russia, 2,000 children were evacuated from a summer camp as a state of emergency was declared, the state Itar-Tass news agency reported.

In Nizhny Novgorod, where at least 540 homes have been destroyed, villages and towns were still under threat from about 60 wildfires raging in the area, the authorities said.

A state of emergency has been declared in 14 out of Russia's 83 federal districts and 240,000 people have been deployed to fight the fires, media and officials said.

Sizzling temperatures - around 40 degrees Celsius in some areas - have parched vast areas of Russia's agricultural land.

Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, has had to cancel meetings to fly to the Nizhny Novgorod region. He ordered his government to allocate $165m to help victims.