Adventure tourists worldwide were disappointed to learn that 30% of the attractions around the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone had burned down after ten days of forest fires. It comes during a time when the CEZ is growing in popularity after HBOs miniseries. PR Reps for the Russian Government expressed that the power plant, which holds the 4th reactor that failed decades ago, wasn’t remotely harmed during these fires. That extends towards Pripyat, the city which housed the Chernobyl workers before the nuclear reactor failed.
The Director of Research & Development with the Chernobyl Tour Group confirmed this loss of history through social media. He mentioned that 1/3rd of the surrounding areas, which comprised of multiple villages that housed civilians who refused to leave the area. The central area of Chernobyl wasn’t harmed, but the Director noted that this loss till breaks makes his heart bleed.
Chernobyl’s 2020 Fires began on April 4th, seeing the overall majority of these wildfires’ burnout by April 14th thanks to significant rainfall. However, smouldering coals haven’t died down and could prompt increased fires, which is why more than 500+ firefighters remain on scene. They’re using several helicopters and 125 firetrucks to diminish any remaining flames. These firefighters are concerned for their safety, with radioactive material left over from Chernobyl’s reactor exploding now falling into the air decades later. This more than likely, will cause an increase in cancer amongst these men.
The Biggest Loss
The Director clarified that the most significant loss to these fires was one of the most historic locations in Russia. The Izumrudnoe Soviet Youth Camp burned down to the ground; it was one of the few remaining Soviet-Era Buildings in the area. When Chernobyl’s 4th reactor failed, the first responders were houses in the Izumrudnoe Camp.
Those that visited this area saw an influx of history, including paintings from the Soviet-Era and personal items left by the Chernobyl first responders. All of these critical items have been lost to the 2020 fires. It’s unknown if the Russian Government will create a memorial for the fallen camp. Considering that Vladimir Putin will want the world to forget about these fires, a monument is unlikely.