A forest blaze that has been raging in the Chernobyl exclusion zone in northern Ukraine for several days almost reached the abandoned nuclear power plant, according to local reports on Tuesday.
The distance from the nearest boundary of the fire is now just one kilometer to the plant itself, Greenpeace Russia confirmed.
The threat remains alarming as the weather situation is still contributing to the spread of fire, according to Greenpeace Russia who noted late Monday that the forecast of dry, warm weather of at least 22 degrees Celsius along with 13-meter-per-second winds although rain is expected on Tuesday.
Authorities said the fire, which broke out in the Chernobyl exclusion zone on April 4, was extinguished two days later while reporting that radiation levels were normal.
However, the remaining blazes merged to form a larger wildfire again. Officials so far have been unable to pinpoint the exact area of the fire due to heavy smoke. Nonetheless, preliminary reports indicate that it may cover an area of up to 100 hectares (247 acres).
The exclusion zone management agency has asked police to check for deliberate arson as a cause of the large-scale forest fires near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
By Sibel Morrow