The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has reported it has seen fires near the Chornobyl nuclear power plant have broken out again.
"On April 17, 2020, NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of new fires breaking out near the Chernobyl [Chornobyl] Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine," NASA said on its website.
On April 14, the fires that had broken out at the beginning of April were mostly extinguished, however smouldering sections still remained.
On Thursday, April 16, new fires erupted and spread quickly due to high winds.
"Large, dark gray billowing clouds of smoke rise from the fires in this image and are seen traveling more than 757 km (470 miles)," NASA said. "This area is the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. Seasonal fires do break out around Chernobyl but it is estimated that the range of this fire from beginning to now has reached 50,000 acres which makes this wildfire the largest since the nuclear accident occurred."
NASA says its satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass. Together, NASA instruments detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars.