Last month, Russia endured the hottest July ever recorded since records began 130 years ago. The intense heat and drought affecting central Russia has been drying out trees and peat marshes, which have been catching fire recently, burning forests, fields and houses across a massive region. Some 500 new fires have been reported in the last 24 hours alone, and a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of emergency workers is underway to combat them. President Dmitry Medvedev has now declared a state of emergency in seven regions. To date, over 1,500 homes have been destroyed and 40 lives have been lost. as wildfires continue across over 300,000 acres. A soldier walks past birches, which are charred, damaged by fire on the outskirts of the Russian city of Voronezh. Men walk in front of a burning building near Vyksa, Russia. A woman raises her hands to her face, walking away from a scene filled with heavy smoke and fire near Vyksa, Russia.