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Russian Wildfires Reach Chernobyl Site, Recontamination Likely (Video)

Russian Wildfires Reach Chernobyl Site, Recontamination Likely (Video)

Over 500 wildfires have been raging across Russia for the past week, and now forest service officials are reporting that blazes have reached lands already contaminated by radioactive waste from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster (Deutche Welle).

“According to data from August 6, in the Bryansk region alone 28 fires covering an area of 269 hectares (664 acres) were recorded on these radioactive lands,” an official told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

This is a change from statments made earlier this week, in which Russian officials denied any knowledge of wildfires in the Bryansk region.

As the fires spread, scientists have become increasingly concerned that blazes allowed to reach the highly contaminated areas could result in nuclear particles being lifted out of the soil and into the atmosphere.

Just days ago, Care2′s Nancy Roberts reported that the fires have killed 50 people, left several thousand homeless, and devastated the country’s agricultural system.

As of Tuesday, the Russian Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that the area was being monitored by nuclear experts, and no visible increase in radiation levels had been detected.

Although any radioactive particles released during the fire would result in much lower levels of radiation compared Chernobyl, Professor Edmund Lengfelder, chairman of the German Society for Radiation Protection, told the German public that these could travel up to thousands of kilometers depending on wind conditions.

Watch this amateur footage of a car making a lucky escape from a raging forest fire in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region. The situation has escalated following weeks of record breaking temperatures.

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Image Credit: Flickr - Andrezej Zarori

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86 comments

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3:04AM PDT on Aug 20, 2010

our poor Earth!

12:34AM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

My heart goes out to those who are suffering, my prayers too.

9:10PM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

very scary

8:37AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Damn fire. The same is happening in my country. And we are down south summer hasn't already started.

12:02AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

I was in Ukraine when it happened. A boy in my class lost all his hair in a matter of days and was sent away to Germany for "testing" and "recovery". My family and I left to Russia for 2 weeks to be "safe". How silly all this seems now - there IS no "safe" in a catastrophe like this one. Every inhabitant of earth has received so much pollution and radiation by now - there simply is no escape. Every cancer in the world is from the pollution of the body, mind and spirit of humanity as a whole.
Every disease is the result of some sort of conduct, and it all starts with spiritual degradation.
To truly heal our planet will take thousands of years - pollution sticks around longer than anything alive. We are truly on a course to our ultimate showdown - who will remain to tell the stories of our ancestors? Cockroaches maybe...
Only Love and responsible living can save us.
God Bless us All - all humans, animals, and nature.

2:38AM PDT on Aug 16, 2010

Thank you for the information! I live in Moscow, Russia, and I'm completely exasperated by the fact that I could find the honest and independent information about the situation only here and on the sites of WWF and Greenpeace. There is no such information in the Russian media.

1:49PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

@Lionel: So are you saying that you'd be completely fine if a nuclear disaster site caught fire in your town? Isn't it better to be over-prepared than caught off guard?

4:05AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

very scary situation

9:42PM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

This really scares me. Doesn't Russia need to create a new structure for Chernybol in the next 20 years and the planning hasn't even began. This is a world issue not just a Russian problem

7:21PM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

Scary prospect.

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