Young tourists brave the thick blanket of smog covering Moscow as they visit Red Square on Sunday. ((Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press))

The choking smog blanketing Moscow from wildfires burning through the countryside has prompted the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs to withdraw some diplomats and their families from the Russian capital.

"The Canadian Embassy in Moscow is proceeding with the relocation of some Canadian-based staff and dependants out of Moscow," Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lisa Monette said in an email to CBC News on Sunday.

"These include those considered to be in high-risk categories, such as pregnant women, small children and those with respiratory and cardiac conditions."

Monette said the embassy is still open and "continues to provide its full range of services."

A travel advisory posted on the Foreign Affairs website strongly advises all Canadians in Moscow "to limit their movement, minimize physical activity outdoors and keep windows and doors closed."

That kind of advice is going out to all of Moscow's suffering residents from a variety of sources.  

Emergency officials said 49 wildfires were raging near Moscow on Sunday, making life miserable and unhealthy for millions of the city's residents. 

With temperatures in the high 30s and with most Muscovites lacking air conditioning, local authorities opened 123 anti-smog cooling centres around Moscow — most in government buildings and hospitals.

Pollution levels in the capital are more than triple normal levels.  Poor visibility caused more than 90 flight delays or cancellations on Sunday.

With files from The Associated Press