Hundreds of new fires broke out Sunday in Russian forests and fields that have been dried to a crisp by drought and record heat, but firefighters claimed success in bringing some of the wildfires raging around cities under control. The firefighters got much-needed help from residents desperate to save their homes, who shoveled sand onto the flames and carted water in large plastic bottles. The wildfires that began threatening much of western Russia last week have killed 28 people and destroyed or damaged 77 towns or villages, the Emergencies Ministry said. Thousands of people have been evacuated from areas in the path of flames, but no deaths have been recorded since late Wednesday. Troops and volunteers have joined tens of thousands of firefighters in combating the fires, which blazed just outside Moscow and in several provinces east and south of the capital. Residents search belongings from the ruins of their houses which were destroyed by a forest fire in the town of Voronezh some 500 km (294 miles) south of Moscow, Saturday, July 31, 2010. A Russian woman holding a baby cries near the remains of her burned out home in Voronezh on August 1, 2010. Firefighters fought an uphill battle against spreading forest fires that have already killed 30 people, destroyed thousands of homes and mobilized hundreds of thousands of emergency workers. The emergency ministry said that forest fires had engulfed more than 114,000 hectares across Russia. Flames travel along the floor of the forest as a parched forest burns near a suburb of the town of Voronezh some 500 km (294 miles) south of Moscow, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. Hundreds of new fires broke out Sunday in Russian forests and fields that have been dried to a crisp by drought and record heat.