The storms, which were accompanied by hurricane-force winds, lashed the area around St. Petersburg on Sunday, causing trees to fall on electricity lines, roads, and railroad tracks. The high winds also toppled several construction cranes, seriously injuring a crane operator. More than 1,500 towns and villages across north-west Russia saw their electricity supply cut as a result. Russia's Emergency Affairs Ministry, which is still busy fighting hundreds of wild fires, said it would do everything it could to restore power to the people affected. With forecasters warning the storms might return as early as Tuesday, and hit Moscow, officials ordered extra safety measures for movable objects such as cranes, advised people not to park their cars near trees and billboards, and ordered backup generators to be readied. Meanwhile, fuelled by a two-month heatwave, almost 500 wild fires continued to burn across central Russia. However, there were signs that the authorities were getting to grips with the flames. The overall area ablaze was reduced by 15 per cent by Monday morning compared to 24 hours earlier, officials said.