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Whole villages burnt down as firefighters battle forest blazes in northern Ukraine – PHOTOS

Forest fire near the village of Ostrovy, Zhytomyr Oblast, 16 April 2020. Photo: Facebook/Vitaliy Yushkevych.
Whole villages burnt down as firefighters battle forest blazes in northern Ukraine – PHOTOS

After massive forest fires were successfully localized in the Chornobyl exclusion zone in the north of Kyiv Oblast on 13 April, wildfires broke out in the neighboring oblast of Zhytomyr and lasted until now.

Read also: The stubborn Ukrainian tradition behind forest fires in Chornobyl

Here we publish photographs from the epicenter of Zhytomyr fires by RFE/RL with translated original comments.

On April 16, Zhytomyr Oblast picked up the baton from Chornobyl. At first, a forest caught fire right along the border with Belarus. Several hours later the strong wind made the fire reach the settlements of Zhytomyr’s Ovruch Raion and came close to the border crossing point Vystupovychi. Ovruch Raion’s villages of Nizhnia Rudnia, Ostrovy, Mahdyn, and Lychmany lost most of their houses to the fire. Local residents relate such an extent of the fire to the dry winter, deforestation, and a significant drawdown of water level. To curb the fire, the State Emergency Service pulled reinforcements from the neighboring districts and involved a fire-fighting train and aviation. The photographs are from April 18.

Forest fire near border crossing point & laquo; Speech & raquo;
Fire in a forest near the border crossing point Vystupovychi. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Firefighters replenish their water supply in a pond near the village of Vystupovichi
Firefighters replenishing water supply in a pond near Vystupovychi village. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Fire door after change. The fleet of fire trucks in the Zhytomyr region consists mainly of elderly ZILs
The door of a fire truck after the shift. The fire-truck fleet of Zhytomyr Oblast consists mainly of old Soviet-made ZIL trucks. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Fire aviation emits water on fire in a forest near the border crossing point & laquo; Performances & raquo;
Fire-fighting aircraft drops water on the fire in a forest expanse fire near the border crossing point Vystupovychi. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

The fire quickly takes dryness near the railroad track. Near the border crossing & laquo; Speeches & raquo;
The fire quickly expands to the deadwood near a railway in the area of the border checkpoint Vystupovychi. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Fire train from Korosten, it is used for refueling by fire trucks operating in the forest and directly for extinguishing the fire near the railway track
The fire-fighting train from Korosten, it is used to replenish fire trucks operating in the forest and to directly extinguish fires near the railway track. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Firefighters come close to the fire and fill it with water directly from the train
Firefighters come close to the fire and douse it directly from the train. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Firefighters are watering a burning forest strip near the railroad track
Firefighters dousing a burning forest strip near a railway track. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Railroad crossing and road to Belarus, near the border crossing point & laquo; Speeches & raquo;
A railway crossing and the road to Belarus, near the border checkpoint Vystupovychi. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Locals of the village of Lichmani, father Alexander and his wife Natalia. They saved their home from a fire. Part of the hives burned down, sheep lost
Locals from the village of Lychmany, father Oleksandr and his wife Natalia. They saved their home from a fire, some beehives burned down, sheep lost. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Street of Lichmani village after the fire
Street in Lychmany village after the fire. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

A burned down house in the village of Lichmani
A burned-down house in the village of Lychmany. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

A local resident who burned down the house goes looking for building materials to restore the farm
A local whose house burned down is looking for building materials to restore his household. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Residents of the burnt-out village of Magdin and their cattle move to relatives in the village of Lichmani
Residents of the burnt-out village of Mahdyn and their cattle moving to relatives in the village of Lychmany. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

A resident of the village of Magdin moves with pets for temporary residence to relatives. His house also burned down
A resident of Mahdyn moving with his livestock to find temporary refuge with his relatives. He is among those whose houses burned down. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

Forest area near Berezhost village burned down
A burned-out forest area near the village of Berezhest. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

The burned down house, the village of Magdin
A burned house in Mahdyn village. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

 

The territory of the completely burned down village of Magdin
The area of ​​the burned-out village of Mahdyn. Photo: Max Levin/radiosvoboda.org

Here are more photos taken by activist Vitaliy Yushkevych in the area of Zhytomyr wildfires on 16-20 April:

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine reports that the forest fires in Zhytomyr’s Ovruch Raion have been localized as of 18:00, 23 April. However, woods, forest floor, grass are still smoldering in four forest districts. The agency involved 687 people and 100 pieces of equipment in fighting the fires.


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