Thick smog blanketed Moscow on Thursday as it blew in from nearby forest fires, which the national forestry agency said were made worse by neglectful local authorities. Hundreds of firefighters and several aircraft were battling the blazes in the Ryazan region, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) southeast of Moscow, the emergencies ministry said. The Federal Forestry Agency accused the region’s authorities of downplaying the scale of the fires and delaying an adequate response. “The forestry authorities of the Ryazan region and its nature areas let the situation with the forest fires slip and hid its real scale,” the agency told the RIA Novosti news agency. The region’s governor Pavel Malkov said Wednesday that over 800 hectares (1,980 acres) had been affected by the fires. But the international environmental group Greenpeace put the figure at over 3,300 hectares.