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'Rescuers work to the limit': large-scale fires rage in the Chernobyl exclusion zone

Fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone are a long-standing fear of Kievans and residents of the northern regions of Ukraine. People believe that “charged” radioactive particles can spread with smoke, almost like during the 1986 accident, writes BBC News Ukraine.

Photo: video frame YouTube / euronews

In fact, the spread of radiation, if it happens, is very local.

However, fires in a wooded area are indeed a problem, but more from an environmental point of view than radiation safety.

"Bad news"

“There is bad news - in the center of the fire, radiation is above normal. As you can see in the video, the readings of the device are 2,3 at a rate of 0,14, ”said Yegor Firsov, the temporary chairman of the State Ecological Inspection, in the exclusion zone.

Post accompanies the video with an alarm signal from the dosimeter about exceeding the permissible indicators of one of the types of radioactive radiation.

Yegor Firsov said that we are talking only about "the situation in the fire".

But the message about a “radioactive fire” in the Chernobyl zone and “a sharp excess of radiation standards” has once again spread in the Ukrainian and not only media space.

Photo: video frame YouTube / euronews

Fire in the "polluted" west

“The radioactive contamination in the zone is uneven, but in general, elevated levels are tracked in the western and northern parts of the territory,” explains BBC News Ukraine Mykola Fomin, Gamma Travel's guide, who has been working in the Exclusion Zone for many years.

The current fire, judging by the reports of the State Emergency Service, arose in the western part of the Exclusion Zone. This is the area of ​​Kotovsky forestry.

Kotovskoye is one of the abandoned villages of the Polessky district, the closest to the fire is the village of Ragovka in the north-west of the Kiev region.

“The main part of the fire is located in the west, so a certain excess of permissible levels in the fire source is a“ normal ”phenomenon for the zone,” notes Nikolai Fomin.

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In total, 20 hectares of forest caught fire.

This really leads to the spread of radiation, but we are not talking about mass pollution.

“During the combustion of contaminated wood and vegetation, isotopes are released, spread with smoke and dust very locally, tens or hundreds of meters. However, levels at the scene of the fire rise, ”notes Nikolai Fomin.

According to him, on such a scale, the threat of pollution outside the Zone is minimal.

Photo: video frame YouTube / euronews

Seasonal phenomenon

“In general, forest fires in the zone are a seasonal phenomenon. The problem is that the grass cover of the Exclusion Zone is very dry in the warm season, and with a long absence of rainfall, the risk of fires increases, ”Fomin explains.

“All relevant services of the Zone are aware of this and regularly prepare for such situations. Outreach is constantly carried out, and staff are trained to respond quickly, ”adds Nikolai, who maintains contacts with various services in the Chernobyl and Chernobyl zones.

The causes of the fire can be both natural and related to people.

“Recently, the popularity of so-called illegal visits to this territory has increased. People who enter the Zone in this way grossly ignore all fire regulations, ”notes Nikolai Fomin.

And he adds: “At the same time, the penetration penalty is about a hundred times less than the penalty for not wearing a mask in public places.”

“Illegals” in the Chernobyl zone, if they are caught by police or border guards, risk administrative fines - usually a few hundred hryvnias.

Photo: video frame YouTube / euronews

Can open windows

Meanwhile, firefighters report the elimination of the fire near Ragovka.

However, individual fires remain in other areas in the west of the Exclusion Zone, including the abandoned village of Polesskoye.

Although, according to firefighters, we are not talking about a horse fire (although it was reported about it) - the grass and forest litter burn.

We are not talking about a serious increase in the level of radiation.

"The radiation background in Kiev and the Kiev region is within normal limits and does not exceed natural background values ​​(Kiev - 0,013 mR / h, Kiev region - within 0,011 mR / h. With an acceptable background of 0,05 mR / h)," DSNS.

“In the exclusion zone and unconditional resettlement, the power levels of the equivalent dose of gamma radiation did not change (Chernobyl - 0,2 mR / h with a control allowable level of up to 0,55 mR / h, at DTP Dityatki 0,1 mR / h with a control allowable level up to 0,2 mR / h), ”rescuers add.

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The absence of the danger of radiation is also mentioned in other official bodies.

For example, at the Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, air measurements were taken in Kiev - in those areas where radioactive smoke could have come.

“According to the results of measurements of technogenic radionuclides in the territory were not found,” they say in the Center.

In the end, Yevgeny Firsov also called not to panic due to a fire in the zone.

“You can not be afraid to open windows and ventilate the premises during quarantine,” he wrote on Facebook.

But this does not mean that firefighters working in radioactive "dirty" places are not at risk.

Photo: video frame YouTube / euronews

Now the firefighters who put out and put out the fires in the Chernobyl zone are being examined at the National Institute of Radiation Medicine.

“Rescuers work to the limit in extremely difficult conditions ... For each of the guys I worry, as for myself ... The outrage is caused by the fact that firefighters who are forced to work in the Chernobyl zone do not eliminate the consequences of an accident, but the consequences of human negligence and criminal acts, ”wrote Anatoly Vatolin, head of the CSN in Kiev.

The negligence he is talking about was discovered by the police.

They say that they found who exactly is to blame for the fire.

“It turned out to be a 27-year-old resident of the village of Ragovka. As the young man explained to the policeman, he set fire to debris and grass in three places for fun. After that, the fire threw the wind further and he could no longer cope and put out the fire, ”the law enforcers said in a statement.

wildfire At home Chernobyl

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