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A large-scale fire broke out in Chornobyl zone of alienation. June 5 at 10:10 am, a grass fire started there. It spread around the forest of 10 hectares. It was localized to five hectares till the morning on June 6. As we reported earlier, according to the State Emergency Service, the radiation level in Kyiv was 11 mcR/h, while the safe level is up to 30 mcR/h. In Chornobyl, the level of radiation remains within the norm (32 mcR/h, while safe indicator is 50 mcR/h). The radiation level on Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant industrial site is 51,6 15 mcSv/h (safe level – 140 mcR/h).
27 units of equipment and 130 people were involved in putting out the fire. The gust of the wind prevented the fire from extinguishing it. The State Emergency Service was involved: two An-32P and Mi-8 helicopters have already poured 98 tons of water for ignition.
There are no threats of spreading the fire to the objects of the Chornobyl NPP. According to rescuers, the southeastern wind at the site of the fire does not spread the combustion products towards Kyiv.
The State Emergency Service called the situation “controllable”.
Extinguishing the fire continues. If the speed and direction of the wind do not change, the State Emergency Service expects to localize the fire tomorrow (before midday). Forces and resources are concentrated in the area of Kopachi village. Arson is one of the versions of the major fire, torches were found on the site of the fire.
There was some information that the Red Forest is burning - the most radioactively contaminated area near the Chornobyl NPP. Director Natalia Levina posted on her Facebook some photos of the fire and wrote: "I am in Chornobyl, the Red Forest is on fire."
Red Forest is the 10-square-kilometer area surrounding the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant within the Exclusion Zone. The name "Red Forest" comes from the ginger-brown color of the pine trees after they died following the absorption of high levels of radiation from the Chornobyl accident. In the post-disaster cleanup operations, the Red Forest was bulldozed and buried in "waste graveyards". The site of the Red Forest remains one of the most contaminated areas in the world today.
At the same time, a scientist from the Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology Serhiy Hashchak reassures: the Red Forest does not exist. "Most of it was turned by the bulldozers into trenches and buried. In part, the "red forest" burned down two years ago," Hashchak said to BBC news agency.
According to journalist Tetiana Vysotska, the radiation background at the station increased three-fold in a day. She assures me that the official statements by the authorities are just false.
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman advises not to worry.
The Chornobyl zone is an area, forbidden for free access, it is subjected to intensive radiation contamination after the Chornobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986.
In recent years, major forest fires take place in the Chornobyl zone.
In April 2015, one of the largest fires in the Chornobyl zone occurred (in the territory of the special plant "Chernobyl Forest"), more than 300 hectares of forest were destroyed then.
In July 2016, the fire erupted in the exclusion zone. And at the end of June 2017, the fire lasted for more than three days. Then the increase in radiation background was not fixed. The fire in the exclusion zone is hard to be fought. It is dangerous because of the release of radiation, which might spread to an uncertain territory.