Elevated radiation levels detected near wildfires in Chernobyl exclusion zone

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The nuclear power plant exploded in 1986

Wildfire burning Chernobyl exclusion zone
Wildfire burning in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Photo by Yaroslav Yemelianenko.

Elevated radiation levels have been detected near Ukraine wildfires burning in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that exploded in 1986. People are not allowed to live within 19 miles of the closed facility.

Firefighters were dealing with two fires, one about 12 acres and the other approximately 49 acres, according to the latest size estimates. The smaller one is reportedly under control. More than 100 firefighters were aided by air tankers and helicopters.

On his Facebook page, Yaroslav Yemelianenko, posted a photo of a Geiger counter showing higher than normal radiation levels. At one location the “reading was 2.3 when the normal level is 0.14.”

Wildfire burning Chernobyl exclusion zone
A Geiger counter showing an elevated radiation level at a wildfire burning in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Photo by Yaroslav Yemelianenko.

Police arrested a person suspected of starting one of the fires, a 27-year-old man from the area who reportedly told police he had set grass and rubbish on fire in three places “for fun”. After he had lit the fires, he said, the wind had picked up and he had been unable to extinguish them.

Wildfire burning Chernobyl exclusion zone
Wildfire burning in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Photo by Yaroslav Yemelianenko.
Wildfire burning Chernobyl exclusion zone
Wildfire burning in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Photo by Yaroslav Yemelianenko.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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