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Ukraine continues fighting fires near defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant

Chernobyl Nuclear Plant (DAVID HOLT/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Firefighters in Ukraine continue to battle a series of fires near the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant nearly a month after they broke out.

The State Service for Emergency Situations said on April 27 that brigades were still working to extinguish fires in the Lubyanskiy, Paryshivskiy, Dytyatkivskiy, and Denysovytskiy forest districts in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

“The main efforts are focused on the localization of two fire sites, smoldering stumps, wood segments, and peat-boggy soil,” the service said, adding that radiation in the area does not exceed permissible levels.

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

Ukrainian officials have said they have extinguished the fires several times, but new fires continue appearing in the area.

The National Police has said it has detained two people suspected of setting the initial fire.

The reactor meltdown and explosion at the Chernobyl plant in 1986 sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history.