Fires burned in Chernobyl-affected region: watchdog

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Fires covering hundreds of hectares were recorded in Russia's Bryansk region on August 6, an area hit by contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the state forest watchdog said Wednesday.

"According to data from August 6, in the Bryansk region alone 28 fires covering an area of 269 hectares were recorded on these radioactive lands," on official from Roslesozaschita told the Interfax news agency.

"There are maps of the (nuclear) contamination, there are maps of the fires. Anyone can put the two together. Why deny this information?" added the official.

Officials from the Russian emergencies ministry had earlier this week denied there had been fires in the Bryansk region, after concern was raised over nuclear particles being lifted out of the soil by the blazes.

The watchdog said in a statement on its website that some 3,900 hecatares of land in Russia deemed to be radioactive had been hit by the wildfires.

© 2010 AFP

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