Ukraine said Tuesday there were only small fires left in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and rain came to the rescue in the fight against a large fire.
The fire broke out 10 days ago at the site of the worst nuclear accident in the world in 1986 and was only 1.5 kilometers from the dome above the destroyed reactor on Monday, Greenpeace said Russia.
While forest fires are common in the exclusion zone, the environmental group says it was the worst since the 1986 nuclear explosion.
However, the state emergency service of Ukraine announced on Tuesday that the fire was no longer visible and it would take a few more days to extinguish the smoldering remains of the fire.
"The background radiation in the exclusion zone remains within normal limits and does not increase," Mykola Chechotkin, head of the emergency service, told President Volodymyr Zelensky during a conference call.
On Monday, the situation worsened due to the stormy wind, but the rain helped firefighters contain the flames, Chechotkin said.
Chernobyl polluted much of Europe when its fourth reactor exploded in April 1986. People are not allowed to live within 30 kilometers of the power plant.
Police said the fire was started on April 4 by a man who burned dry grass near the restricted area around the destroyed reactor. The flames spread quickly and were fanned by strong winds.
Kiev has mobilized helicopters and more than 400 firefighters, with planes dropping tons of water on the fire.
Zelensky said late Monday that he was following the situation closely and was "grateful for the courage" of the firefighters.
Oleksandr Syrota, director of the Chernobyl Information Center, welcomed reports of rain in the exclusion zone as "good news".
Ministry of the Interior spokesman Artem Shevchenko said rain has "helped rescuers who have been fighting fire in the area for more than a week".
& # 39; Unpredictable & # 39;
On Monday, Sergiy Zibtsev, head of the Eastern European Regional Fire Control Center, told AFP that the fire was "very large" and "unpredictable".
"According to our calculations, it has already covered 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) in the west of the exclusion zone."
The Ukrainian emergency service did not provide current figures on the size of the fire, but said that "there is no danger to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the storage facilities".
Government agencies have insisted that the fire did not cause an increase in radiation levels.
After the explosion in 1986, the three other reactors in Chernobyl continued to generate electricity until the power plant was finally closed in 2000. In 2016, a huge protective dome was installed over the fourth reactor.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)