A major wildfire is sweeping through the Chernobyl nuclear disaster area. The authorities have deployed dozens of fire trucks as firefighting aircraft bombard the radioactive exclusion zone with massive amounts of water.
The fire inside the Chernobyl ‘dead zone,’ which is now part of Ukraine, started on Tuesday morning, when dry grass was ignited, local emergency services said in a statement. The wildfire subsequently reached a forest, where up to 10 hectares (24 acres) are now in flames.
Some 29 vehicles and 126 personnel have been dispatched at the scene, with several planes and helicopters dropping water from the sky on the area engulfed by wildfire.
The Chernobyl plant once produced about 10 percent of Ukraine’s electricity. In 1986, one of its four reactors exploded, setting off the worst nuclear accident in history; afterwards, authorities evacuated an area around the plant of 1,000 square miles. Few people live there, and much of the land has been reclaimed by forests and wildlife.