Representatives of the US Forest Service got acquainted with the fire prevention system in the Exclusion Zone
During the working meeting of SAUEZM management and the SSE «Pivnichna Pushcha» with the specialists of the US Forest Service, Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management (SAUEZM) thanked colleagues for fruitful cooperation and exchange of experience, as well as presented a plan for the provision of fire safety in the Exclusion Zone.
«Fire in the Exclusion Zone is always a danger, because as a result of combustion with products of combustion of radioactive forest or litter in the air, radioactive substances that pose a potential threat to the environment, workers of the Exclusion Zone or the population of the country can enter. Our task is to act on the bias and respond as quickly as possible to fires and emergencies in case they occur, in order to prevent the spread of fire to a significant territory», – Vitalii Petruk, Head of SAUEZM, said.
In particular, over the past years, 2 forest fire stations (Lubianivska and Opachytska) were built in the Exclusion Zone, 2,035 kilometers of mineralized strips and fire-bridges were created, and 2 kilometers of fire-prevention roads were built. In addition, the US Forest Service funded the transfer of 5 camera sensors and computer equipment for the early detection of fires as well as fire-fighting clothing, and in the framework of cooperation with the OSCE, two quad-copters and 2 car radio stations were transferred to «Pivnichna Pushcha».
Also, the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve works with GEF/UNEP on the program to transfer 10 more camera sensors, which will allow the early detection of fires to cover almost the entire territory of the Exclusion Zone.
«In this way, we will be able to detect and respond effectively to fires and emergencies. If the extinguishing of a forest fire is not started within 20-30 minutes after its detection, then it usually grows into a ridge and becomes large-scale», – Mykhailo Baitala, the head of the department for ensuring the barrier function of the Exclusion Zone, the natural reserve fund, radiation safety, occupational safety and civil defense, said.
The Agency faces an important task of creating an interdepartmental focal point for the prevention and elimination of fires and emergencies. The first steps have already been taken – a plan for cooperation between the rescue units of both countries in the event of fires in the border areas has been developed and agreed with the Polissian State Radiation and Ecological Reserve of the Republic of Belarus, as well as work is being carried out on the Instruction on organization of fire fighting in the forest fund in the territory of the exclusion zone and zones of unconditional (mandatory) resettlement.
«It is important for us to continue cooperation with international colleagues who have experience in effectively organizing interagency cooperation during forest fires. So, we hope to continue fruitful work with the US Forest Service», – Vitalii Petruk said.
At the end of the meeting, Forest Service experts visited one of the reconstructed forest fire stations which are planned to be rebuilt in the near future, as well as acquainted with the work of the system of early detection of fires.