Fires in Chernobyl exclusion zone engulf around 20,000 hectares

15:55, 27 April

Fires in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant engulfed an area of around 20,000 hectares, Sergei Kalashnik, chief of Ukraine’s state agency for the management of the exclusion zone, said on Monday.

"The overall area of forests hit by the fire is around 20,000 hectares. We have not yet taken inventory of losses," he said, adding that according to preliminary estimates, about 10,000 hectares of forests were destroyed by fire.

He said that efforts are continued to extinguish two beds of smoldering wood in the exclusion zone, one of them being of about 20 hectares and the other one much smaller.

The fire inside the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant occurred on April 4. It destroyed 12 villages, whose residents had been evacuated after the 1986 disaster and a large forest area. The emergencies service said that by April 15 open fire had been eliminated, but strong wind caused several problem spots the next day. Thus, beds of fire were registered 17 kilometers off the border with Belarus.

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