Emergency teams in Ukraine are battling a forest fire in the contaminated area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, inside the 2,600-square-kilometer (1,000-square-mile) Chernobyl Exclusion Zone which was established after April 1986.
The fire has spread to about 100 hectares (247 acres) of the radioactive forest. It has raised radiation fears. Two blazes erupted Saturday in the zone around Chernobyl that was sealed after the 1986 explosion at the plant. The authorities said that radiation levels in the area engulfed by fires substantially exceeded normal levels. Two firefighting planes and a helicopter were deployed to the scene.The zone is largely unpopulated, although about 200 people have remained despite orders to leave. Blazes in the area have been a regular occurrence.
This one seems to be no exception. Police said they tracked down a person, 27 old man, suspected of starting the blaze by setting dry grass on fire. He declared he burned grass “for fun.” Chernobyl polluted a large swathe of Europe when its fourth reactor exploded in April 1986. A giant protective dome was put in place over the fourth reactor in 2016.