A forest fire has erupted in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. More than 200 firefighters, 15 fire engines, two aircraft and one helicopter are battling the fire, according to Ukraine's acting emergencies minister Zoran Shkiryak.
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that as of 6:30 PM Kiev time (3:30 PM GMT) the situation had gotten worse and the fire was approaching the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
The emergency situation presented by forest fires in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation is under control, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said later.
Earlier, Ukrainian authorities reported three forest fires in the vicinity of the Chernobyl plant, but said they did not pose a threat to local residents nor to the NPP. The total area of the fires covers an estimated 400 hectares.
"After traveling to the exclusion zone the prime minister told reporters at the airport that the situation is under control. Areas engulfed in flames are located at a distance of about 20 kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant," a statement on the Ukrainian government’s website said.
According to the statement, Yatsenyuk has stressed that the authorities are tackling the situation despite the fact that the fire is the largest seen since 1992.
- The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station© Sputnik / Igor Kostin
- Exclusion zone on eve of 27th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster© Sputnik / Alexei Furman
- Exclusion zone on eve of 27th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster© RIA Novosti . Alexei Furman
- The 6th clinical hospital where victims of the Chernobyl disaster were brought. Examination of a patient in one of the wards© Sputnik / Vladimir Vyatkin
The Chernobyl disaster, which happened on April 26, 1986, was the worst human-made nuclear power plant accident in history. An explosion and fire at Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere which spread over western parts of the USSR and Europe.