The 34 year anniversary of the catastrophic Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster is on 26 April. While the site of the explosion is indeed safe for humans to visit, albeit for a short time, recent forest fires around the site might persuade you to reconsider a trip.
Forest fires in the surrounding areas of the Chernobyl exclusion zone have caused radiation levels to spike up to 16 times higher than normal. As the forest fires blaze thorough the surrounding areas, they released large amounts of radiation previously trapped in soil, leaves, and wood.
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) April 6, 2020
“There is bad news,” ecological inspection chief Yegor Firsov wrote in a Facebook post from the closed Chernobyl region. “At the centre of the fire, radiation levels are high … readings are 2.3, when the normal level is 0.14.”
As reported by CTV news, the initial fire was started on Sunday [4 April] near the village of Volodymyrivka before quickly spreading to an area of more than 100 hectares of surrounding land. Reports suggest a 27-year-old man started the blaze by setting dry grass on fire “for fun”.
Ukrainian authorities have stated that surrounding neighbourhoods further away from the fire were safe despite an extensive amount of radioactive isotopes being released into the air.