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New wildfires in area round Ukraine’s Chernobyl plant

Firefighters battled large blazes in the area for 10 days earlier this month.

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Chernobyl zone workers extinguish a forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka at the start of April (Yaroslav Yemelianenko/AP)

Chernobyl zone workers extinguish a forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka at the start of April (Yaroslav Yemelianenko/AP)

Chernobyl zone workers extinguish a forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka at the start of April (Yaroslav Yemelianenko/AP)

Three new wildfires have started in the radiation-contaminated evacuation zone around Ukraine’s wrecked Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident 34 years ago, emergency officials said.

A statement from the Emergencies Ministry said the fires were small and posed no threat to facilities holding radioactive waste.

The statement did give an area for the fires or say how they started, but said they were being fanned by gusty winds.

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A forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka, in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, earlier in April (Yaroslav Yemelianenko/AP)

A forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka, in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, earlier in April (Yaroslav Yemelianenko/AP)

AP/PA Images

A forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka, in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, earlier in April (Yaroslav Yemelianenko/AP)

Firefighters battled large blazes in the area for 10 days this month before reporting on Tuesday that they had been extinguished.

The fires are in the 2,600 sq km Chernobyl Exclusion Zone that was established after the 1986 disaster at the plant that sent a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe.

The zone is largely unpopulated, although about 200 people have remained despite orders to leave. Fires in the area raise concerns that they could spread radioactive material.

PA