Chernobyl forest fire triggers radiation spike around nuclear plant

BY JOSH K. ELLIOTT GLOBAL NEWS

Radiation levels near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor have spiked to well above normal as two fires tear through the irradiated forests around the infamous facility.

Ukrainian officials have one simple message for their citizens: This is fine.

In other words, there is no immediate threat to human life, despite elevated radiation readings around the blaze.

The forest fires broke out Saturday near Volodymyrivka in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, a vast stretch of land that has been quarantined since 1986 due to heightened radiation levels caused by the nuclear meltdown that year. Ukraine has dispatched more than 100 firefighters to battle the fires, which have scorched approximately 25 hectares of forest around the nuclear plant.

Radiation levels have soared to approximately 16 times higher than normal, according to Geiger counter readings posted on Facebook by Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service.

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