UARU
The Burning of Chernobyl’s Radioactive Forests (PHOTO REPORT)
8 April, 2020
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A forest fire near the village of Volodymyrka in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. April 5, 2020. The fire, which spread over 20 hectares in the Kotovske forest, started on April 4. Firefighters have been battling the blaze for the fourth day straight. Photo: EPA-EFE/YAROSLAV YEMELIANENKO

On April 4, a fire started in a forest in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, spread over 20 hectares. Over 100 firefighters and specialists have been battling the blaze for four days straight, but have yet to put it out.

That’s according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

While the smoke and stench that permeated the skies around Kyiv on April 4 have mostly passed, the fire is still burning. Radiation levels in the area have spiked above normal, and Kyiv has taken the third place in a list of the world’s most polluted cities.

Лесной пожар в Котовском лесничестве возле села Владимировка в Чернобыльской зоне отчуждения, 5 апреля 2020 года

The forest fire in the Kotovske forest near the village of Volodymyrka in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, April 5, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/YAROSLAV YEMELIANENKO

Law enforcement reported that they had apprehended a man considered responsible for the fire on April 6, charging him with “destruction or damage to flora”, a charge that can carry a fine or even restriction of freedom from two to five years.

The man, a 27-year old resident of a nearby village, has been accused of irresponsibly burning grass, which led to the sparking of the fire.

“As the young man explained to the police, out of curiosity, the man started burning trash and grass in three different places. After that, the fire was blown rather far by the wind, and he could no longer deal with it or put out the blaze,” reads a statement by the Kyiv regional police.

Лесной пожар в Котовском лесничестве возле села Владимировка в Чернобыльской зоне отчуждения, 5 апреля 2020 года

The forest fire in the Kotovske forest near the village of Volodymyrka in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, April 5, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/YAROSLAV YEMELIANENKO

Radiation levels have risen in the capital city of Kyiv and the Kyiv region, but they’ve stayed inside normal variation. A report by the State Emergency Service says that as of April 8, radiation levels in Kyiv are at 0.013 milliRoentgens per hour, and 0.011 milliRoentgens per hour in the region generally, well below the allowable limit of 0.05 milliRoentgens per hour.

Лесной пожар в Котовском лесничестве возле села Владимировка в Чернобыльской зоне отчуждения, 5 апреля 2020 года

The forest fire in the Kotov forest near the village of Volodymyrka in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, April 5, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/YAROSLAV YEMELIANENKO

274 firefighters are involved in combating the blaze, along with six aviation assets – three Mi-8 helicopters and three An–32P airplanes.

READ MORE: Fire in Chernobyl Zone Spreads over 100 Hectares. Radiation 10 Times the Norm

/Adapted by Romeo Kokriatski