Dramatic aerial pictures capture ferocity of Chernobyl's forest fires

Dramatic aerial pictures capture ferocity of Ukraine’s forest fires which are ripping through Chernobyl’s exclusion zone towards nuclear reactor

  • Firefighters on their tenth day battling the blaze are desperately trying to extinguish it before it reaches plant
  • The devastation of inferno has been laid bare in helicopter photographs which shows acres of scorched earth 
  • Photographs also hammer home the seemingly insurmountable task of 400 emergency service personnel  
  • There are fears radiation could be fanned towards populated cities such as the capital of Kyev 

Dramatic aerial pictures have captured the ferocity of the fires ripping through Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.

Firefighters on their tenth day battling the blaze are desperately trying to extinguish it before it wreaks a path to the site of the exploded nuclear reactor.

Radiation levels in the area have already spiked since the outbreak on April 4, and there are fears that the flames could reach contaminated vehicles still abandoned from the 1986 disaster.

The devastation of the inferno has been laid bare in helicopter photographs which show acres of scorched earth from where the fire has ravaged woodland which would usually be green in spring bloom.

In areas where the fire is still smoldering, thick black smoke billows up from a wall of fire which is wiping out trees row by row.

The photographs also hammer home the seemingly insurmountable task of the 400 emergency service personnel deployed daily to wrestle it under control.

The 1,000-square mile exclusion zone, which was established to prevent exposure to lethal gamma, is largely deserted except for about 200 people who have defied orders to leave. 

Dramatic aerial pictures have captured the ferocity of the fires laying waste to Ukraine’s woodland and engulfing Chernobyl’s exclusion zone

The devastation of the inferno has been laid bare in helicopter photographs which shows acres of scorched earth from where the fire has ravaged what should be green woodland in the spring

In areas where the fire is still smoldering, thick black smoke billows up from a wall of fire which is wiping out trees row by row

Firefighters on their tenth day battling the blaze are desperately trying to extinguish it before it wreaks a path to the site of the exploded nuclear reactor

But Ukranian authorities are anxious of radiation in the ground unleashed by the infernos will be fanned to the nearest city of Kyiv, the capital, and other populated areas.

This threat increases as the fire creeps closer to the reactor, where radiation levels are 40,000 times higher than normal readings in the control room. 

Russian channel NTV said eyewitnesses put the flames at around ‘a couple of kilometres’ from the shut plant.

Yesterday, an extraordinary video from firefighter Andrei Kukib showed an emergency vehicle driving through the raging fire and smoke laying waste to the polluted ‘dead zone’. 

Kateryna Pavlova, a senior official involved in the firefighting, said: ‘We have been working all night digging firebreaks around the plant to protect it from fire.’

She told The New York Times: ‘At the moment, we cannot say the fire is contained.’

The State Agency for Management of the Exclusion Zone – which Pavlova heads – has ordered in three Antonov planes (AN-32P) and two MI-8 helicopters which have air dropped more than 250 tonnes of water in the wildfires.  

Officers said the blaze initially broke out after a man set fire to dry grass near the exclusion zone. The man was detained by Ukrainian police. 

Radiation levels in the area have already spiked since the outbreak on April 4, and there are fears that the flames could reach contaminated vehicles still abandoned from the 1986 disaster

The aftermath of a forest fire at the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine, not far from the nuclear power plant

Ukranian authorities are anxious of radiation in the ground unleashed by the infernos will be fanned to the nearest city of Kyiv, the capital, and other populated areas

Like most countries, Ukraine’s frontline workers are already trying to wrestle its own coronavirus epidemic, which has infected 3,102 and killed 93. 

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on April 26, 1986, at unit number four in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. 

Initially covered up by the USSR, the explosion sent radioactive fallout across Europe exposing millions to dangerous levels of gamma.

The three other reactors at Chernobyl continued to generate electricity until the power station finally closed in 2000.

A giant protective dome was put in place over the fourth reactor in 2016. Fires occur regularly in the forests near the Chernobyl power plant.

Since the hit HBO series Chernobyl, tourists have flocked to the site of the reactor to glimpse the fallout from the explosion.

Even the control room, which has 40,000 times the average amount of radiation, is open to visitors, who don protective suits as they tour the compound.            

Officers said the blaze initially broke out after a man set fire to dry grass near the exclusion zone (pictured scorched after the fire)

Source: Read Full Article