AGENCIES, Ukraine: Ukrainian firefighters were busy Sunday night trying to put out two forest blazes in the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power station that was evacuated because of radioactive contamination in 1986
Emergencies service said one of the fires, covering about 12 acres had been localized but more worrying aspect was a spike in radiation levels, according to Ukrainian authorities on Sunday.
“There is bad news — radiation is above normal in the fire’s centre,” Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service, said on Facebook.
The post included a video with a Geiger counter showing radiation at 16 times above normal.
The second fire has spread to about 250 acres of forest, Firsov wrote.
Kiev has mobilised resources that include two planes, a helicopter and around 100 firefighters to fight the blaze.
On Sunday morning, the fire was not visibly burning and no increase in radiation in the air had been detected, the emergencies service said in a statement.
However, the service said Saturday that increased radiation in some areas had led to “difficulties” in fighting the fire, while stressing that people living nearby were not in danger.
Fires are common in the forests near the disused power plant. Off late, the site has become a tourist attraction where organised tours are organised by tourism companies.