UKRAINE – KIEV /TASS/. Firefighters have extinguished a recent fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exclusion zone, but the blaze is still smoldering, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said on Wednesday.
“As of 07:00 on April 8, there is no open flame on the territory of Kotovsky forest in the exclusion zone and the resettlement between the Polesskoye village, the Tarasy village and the Vladimirovka village, but smoldering fires are still being spotted in some areas,” the service said.
More than 250 people and nearly 70 units of equipment are working to put out the fire. Over the past 24 hours, the firefighting aviation has carried out 81 water dropping missions.
The radiation situation in Kiev and the Kiev Region is stable. The ionization exposure rate on the earth surface and the volume of radionuclides in the water do not exceed the permitted standards.
The fire in the exclusion zone broke out on April 4. Initially, it covered some 25 hectares and then it was nearly halved. However, later the blaze spread over an area of 35 hectares due to weather conditions. The Kiev Region’s police said they detained an individual from the Polessky district. According to the investigators, the fire occurred because the man had burnt garbage and left the fire unattended.
The disaster at the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant occurred in the small hours of April 26, 1986, contaminating more than 200,000 square kilometers of territory, first and foremost, in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
Around 115,000 people were evacuated from the 30-kilometer affected zone. The subsequent clean-up operation involved more than 600,000 people, about ten percent of whom died, and 165,000 ended up with disabilities.