Sunday, May 3, 2020

Forest fires destroy villages in Zhytomyr Oblast

May 3, 2020 (KyivPost) Forest fires that raged through Zhytomyr Oblast for two weeks wiped out several small villages, leaving dozens of people homeless at a time when most Ukrainians have to stay home due to the nationwide quarantine. Fueled by strong winds, the fires erupted on April 16 in the forests of the Chornobyl exclusion zone and the adjacent Ovruch district of Zhytomyr Oblast. For several days, acrid smoke from the fires blanketed Kyiv, making it difficult for residents to breathe.
In total, the fires destroyed 72 homes in five villages in the Ovruch district. Set in the middle of a forest that stretches across the border with Belarus, the villages of Lychmany and Magdyn suffered the most. Volunteers have been helping provide local residents with food and clothing. While fires are not a rare occurrence in Ukraine, extremely dry weather during the winter and spring have exacerbated the fire danger, leading to more blazes of a larger scale than usual. Magdyn, with a population of 38 people, burnt completely to the ground. All that remains are the frames of stone furnaces towering over piles of bricks and roofing.