Fires in Western Russia May Spread Environmental Radiation
Multiple fires in areas of Russia heavily contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster are spreading and may increase environmental radioactivity as smoke and radioactive particles are being emitted into the air throughout Western Russia.
Fires are raging in three irradiated sites in the Bryansk region of Russia, close to the Ukraine and Belarus, contributing to airborne radioactivity, according to the environmental group Greenpeace Russia. The group has produced the online map below showing the location of more than 20 fires in the irradiated area.
The smoke from the fires is spreading, and the level of radioactivity may be rising, although radioactivity is not expected to rise to the levels faced by Russia during the Chernobyl disaster. The force of the wind will be a factor in the spread of radioactivity and in bringing the fires under control.
There is a possibility that smoke from the fires could raise radioactivity levels in populated areas of Russia if the fires are not brought under control. At this time it is not known what health risks could be generated in Russia by the radioactive particles in the smog that is blanketing villages near the fires.