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Ukrainian Official Says Wildfires In Chernobyl Area Extinguished


Ukrainian Firefighters Struggle To Control Chernobyl Wildfires
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WATCH: Ukrainian Firefighters Struggle To Control Chernobyl Wildfires

DYTYATKY, Ukraine -- Emergency crews have extinguished wildfires that had been burning near the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The acting director of Ukraine's State Ecology Inspection, Yehor Firsov, said in a statement on Facebook on April 14 that after 10 days, firefighters had managed to finally extinguish the blaze.

"In short, the fire was extinguished. The rain helped a lot. The level of the radiation background is permanently being measured, but according to the data we have, in general, everything is normal," Firsov wrote.

Firsov's Facebook statement came hours after Viktoria Ruban, spokeswoman for the Kyiv regional directorate of the State Emergency Situations Service, told reporters at the Dytyatky checkpoint near the Chernobyl restricted zone that the situation has been complicated by heavy winds in the area.

The day before, the fire had approached the ghost city of Pripyat, which was abandoned by all residents in April 1986 after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

Ruban said that firefighters had managed to stop the fire near Pripyat.

Earlier in the day, the Emergency Situations Service said that firefighting operations in the area were under way, adding that radiation in the region and in the capital, Kyiv, was within "permissible" levels.

A day earlier, Greenpeace Russia had warned that fires blazing through the exclusion zone are much larger than authorities in Kyiv were admitting and that they posed a radiation risk.

The fires began on April 3 in the western part of the uninhabited exclusion zone before spreading to nearby forests.

The National Police said they have detained two people suspected of setting the initial fire.

The Chernobyl Disaster: How It Happened
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