In the exclusion zone, the activities on localization and extinguishing fire on 4 areas near the settlements of Korohod, Rozsokha, Kryva Hora and Rudky are underway. Heavy engineering equipment of the SES, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard is operating in the woodlands, and firebreaks (320 km) are being created in the obstructed areas with this engineering technique. This was reported by Volodymyr Demchuk, Director of the Emergency Response Department of the SES (State Emergency Service) during an online briefing on April 19.
“In difficult-to-reach and swampy areas, roads for the passage of fire-fighting equipment are being made to reach individual fire outbreak points. SES firefighting aircarfts are operating, namely: 3 helicopters,” he added, noting that the Ukryttia (Shelter) facility, Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility and other facilities of the State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management operate as usual.
“More than 570 people and 112 units have been involved from the SES to extinguish forest fires in the exclusion zone as well as additionally sent consolidated units from seven regions, totaling 500 people and more than 60 units of machinery,” said Volodymyr Demchuk.
Concerning the situation in Zhytomyr region, by the morning of April 19, measures are being taken in Slovechansky, Berezhestsky and Vystupovytsky forestry areas to extinguish 9 spots and areas of smoldering of grass and forest floor, both within the perimeter and within the centers where personnel and equipment can reach.
“The lasting process of extinguishing forest fires in the territory of Zhytomyr region is connected with the inability of the access of personnel to separate fire spots due to a large amount of difficult-to-reach forest areas and the absence of roads for fire prevention. Tractors of forestry enterprises and heavy engineering equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are involved in the creation of firebreaks and clearing of roads,” the speaker informed.
Volodymyr Demchuk told that 960 people and over 150 units were involved in the elimination of fires in Zhytomyr region, out of that number from the SES 185 people and 43 units of equipment including 3 firefighting aircraft. Apart from that the firefighting train of Ukrzaliznytsia has been involved.
“The forces and resources of forestry enterprises from other regions of the country have been mobilized. In addition, to assist in the elimination of forest fires, on April 18, the SES attracted personnel and fire technicians from Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions. The work is underway around the clock,” he summed up.
In turn, Director of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute Volodymyr Osadchy informed about how the quality of the atmospheric air was assessed in view of the public concern about fires in the exclusion zone.
He emphasized that the Environmental Radiation Monitoring Department of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute (UkrHMI) monitors the presence of radionuclides from Chornobyl in the air around the clock.
“I want to reassure everyone – during the entire period of fires in the exclusion zone, the content of radionuclides in the atmosphere has never exceeded the maximum permissible dose. In particular, the same applies to the day when we all suffered from the dust storms in the capital,” said the director of UkrHMI.
Commenting on the reliability of the information, he noted that all the atmospheric data collected by the spectrometry and radiochemistry laboratory (which, among other things, is one of the 140 best reference laboratories in the world) are transferred not only to the SES, but also to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The radiation level in Kyiv and the region, as noted, is within the normal range and does not exceed the maximum permissible levels.