New fires fanned by strong winds flare near Chernobyl

New fires fanned by strong winds flare near Chernobyl

New fires broke out in the area around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant, fanned by heavy winds that have made it harder to put out the blaze, Ukrainian officials said.

Emergency workers managed several days ago to contain an initial bout of fires that tore through forests around the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986. Ukrainian authorities have played down any radiation risk.

The state emergency service said three new fires had broken out but were "not large-scale and not threatening".

More than 1,000 people were involved in trying to extinguish the fires, Reuters reported

Emergency workers used planes and helicopters to put out the earlier blaze this week but heavy winds prevented them from doing so on, Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

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