Chernobyl: Huge forest nearly reaches abandoned nuclear plant

Chernobyl: Huge forest nearly reaches abandoned nuclear plant

A HUGE forest fire in Chernobyl, Ukraine has come seriously close to engulfing the abandoned nuclear plant.

The blaze saw hundreds of firefighters scramble as they tried to keep it away from the exclusion zone near the defunct nuclear reactor.

Grass fires had been spreading across the area, and are believed to have moved to within 1km of the reactor itself.

However, due to rain fall on Tuesday morning, the fires were extinguished.

"There are no open flames," the state emergency service said in a statement on Tuesday morning, though they admitted there was still a "slight smouldering of the forest floor".

More than 400 fire fighters were on hand to tackle the blaze.

The fire had sparked radiation fears, with concerns that clouds of radioactive smoke could be released and blow south towards Kyiv, Ukraine's capital.

It's understood that the fire reached the abandoned town of Pripyat, which was decimated by the worst nuclear disaster in history.

"The situation is critical. The zone is burning," wrote Yaroslav Yemelianenko, a tour operator who raised concerns about the fire on Facebook on Monday.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for calm however, and pledged to be transparent about the situation to the general public.

"The public must know the truth and be safe," he said, before insisting that all radiation levels in Kyiv were normal.

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on April 26, 1986 when a nuclear reactor exploded following a safety test.

It lead to a mass wave of radiation poisoning in the surrounding area, particularly as much of the disaster, and the ramifications of the leak, were hidden from public knowledge in the first few days.

The disaster rose was highlighted in the recent HBO drama Chernobyl.