Eighteen people died in forest fires in Russia's worst heatwave in decades, officials said Friday, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited one of the worst hit areas to reassure local residents. Angry residents of a village in the central Nizhny Novgorod region where all 341 houses burnt down confronted Putin as he visited the area, many wiping tears from their eyes, television reports showed. "We aren't asking for anything out of this world. We are just asking for a guarantee that we will be able to live here by winter," a woman resident said in footage shown on state Channel One television.