Rain helps extinguish Chernobyl forest fire
Burned trees are seen after a forest fire outside the settlement of Poliske located in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Photo: Reuters
April 15 2020 01:30 AM
A huge fire that tore through forests around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant has been put out after hundreds of emergency workers used planes and helicopters to douse the flames.
Environmental activists had said the fire, near the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986 and believed to have been started deliberately, posed a radiation risk.
Officials said they registered short-term rises in Caesium-137 particles in the Kiev area to the south of the plant, but radiation levels were within normal limits overall and did not require additional protection measures.
Helped by rain, emergency services prevented the fire from spreading to either the plant or military facilities in the area.
They will however need a few more days to fully extinguish it, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office stated.
Police have accused a 27-year-old local of deliberately starting the blaze, and Mr Zelensky’s office said officers had also arrested suspected arsonists near two points where the fire broke out.