22:18 GMT20 September 2020
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    KIEV (Sputnik) - Efforts to contain the wildfires in Ukraine’s Chernobyl exclusion zone have involved hundreds of firefighters, dozens of vehicles and a handful of aircraft, a statement from Ukraine’s State Emergency Service (SES) Saturday said.

    “[At least] 312 people were involved in fire fighting," the statement reads, adding that at least "and 83 units equipment, including three aircraft and 3 helicopters of the SES, which on April 10 made 96 discharges (240 tons of water)" have joined the operation.

    According to SES figures, the three AN-32 aircraft made 8 discharges over the course of Friday, releasing 64 tons of water while the three Mi-8 helicopters made 88 discharges, raining 176 tons of water onto the wildfires.

    On April 4, the forest fire began near the infamous nuclear disaster site. On April 7, the fires covered 86 acres of territory.

    Police say they have apprehended the suspected perpetrator who claims to have set grass and garbage on fire "for fun." A criminal case has been opened.

    The statement added that radiation levels in surrounding areas and the region surrounding the capital city Kiev are within normal limits and do not exceed natural background levels.

    Ukrainian authorities had gradually begun to loosen restrictions to the zone since last year after hit HBO show “Chernobyl” about the incidents surrounding the April 1986 accident spiked interest and visitations.

    Tags:
    emergency services, water, Chernobyl, fire, Ukraine
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