UPDATED: "Sandstorm" Rekindling Chernobyl Blaze, Says Tour Director
16 April, 2020

It was a collective sigh of relief for Ukraine when the state emergency service reported that the 11-day fire in Chernobyl forests was finally put out. Now, the director of Chernobyl tour agency Yaroslav Yemelianenko says the fire has reignited due to "sandstorms."

Yemelianenko backed up his claims with what he says is a recent photograph of the zone.

"The sandstorm on April 16 is rekindling the flame in many smoldering areas," he wrote.

The state emergency service later confirmed this information but added that the fires are not "threatening."

"Due to heavy wind gusts, the situation became more complicated [on April 16] and three new areas of smoldering appeared. But these are not large-scale or threatening," the service insisted.

READ MORE: Chernobyl Zone After Huge Blaze (VIDEO)

On the afternoon of April 16, Kyivans and residents of nearby areas have been posting pictures of an unusually orange sky and dust storms. Weather experts say that this is due to climate changes, more specifically – lack of rain.

"The weather has been dry for a very long time," they said. "And these days there are fires somewhere at all times."

In addition to this, the winds have been really strong too, around 20 meters per second, the weather experts said.

Chernobyl is only about 120 km north of Kyiv, though the high wind-dust storm situation can be seen all over Ukraine, the experts added. The winds are expected to calm by the end of April 16.

Ukrainians are advised to stay at home and keep distance from any big objects outside that can be blown down by the wind.

READ MORE: The Burning of Chernobyl’s Radioactive Forests (PHOTO REPORT)

The fire in Chernobyl started on April 4 and was extinguished 10 days later, on April 14, after hundreds of firefighters worked tirelessly on the scene. 

The head of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service, Mykola Chechotkyn, said that it would take firefighters a couple more days to extinguish the smoldering.