The Russian state forest protection service Roslesozashchita has confirmed reports that forests that were radioactively polluted by the Chernobyl disaster have been affected by forest fires this summer.
“As of August 6, twenty-eight fires on an area of 269 hectares had been registered in the Bryansk region alone, including 12 fires on an area of nine hectares in the southwestern part of the region,” a Roslesozashchita spokesman told Interfax on Wednesday.
“There are pollution maps and fire maps. Anyone can compare them. How can such information be denied?” he said.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry had denied earlier that forest fires had affected the Bryansk region.
“According to information from Avialesookhrana [the state aerial forest protection service], the local forestry services, the regional administration, and aerial and ground reconnaissance data, there have been no forest fires in the Bryansk region as of now,” Emergency Situations Ministry spokesperson Irina Andrianova told journalists on Tuesday.
Greenpeace Russia had published a map on Tuesday showing that over 20 fires had broken out on radioactively polluted areas in the Bryansk region, including three on heavily polluted territories.
The Gordeyevka, Zlynka, Klimovo, Klintsy, Krasnaya Gora, Novozybkov, and Starodub districts in the Bryansk region are considered to have been radioactively polluted especially heavily by the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.