Photos: The fire in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone that scared us all out of our wits
Natural fires burn through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone on a regular basis. When flames were spotted on April 4, they looked like more of the same. By the next day, however, the fire had covered almost 50 acres, and background radiation levels in the area had spiked. The fire destroyed part of the Red Forest as well as 12 abandoned villages and the Chernobyl-2 military settlement on its way to the outskirts of Pripyat and the Podlesny nuclear waste dump. Intentional grass burns are thought to have caused the fire, and two suspects have been arrested. On April 14, first responders were able to contain the fire thanks to overnight rainfall in the disaster zone. Now, there are no more open flames in the area, and radiation levels have returned to normal.