Fires in Chernobyl’s Red forest

An Annotated Video Bibliography by Melissa Ewing
July 5, 2021

When the Chernobyl Power Plant disaster occurred, the radiation from the plant caused the pine trees in the forest surrounding Pripyat to glow and burn with radiation from the inside out and caused the leaves to turn red and die. It was then given the nickname Red Forest. Forest fires have been concerns ever since the disaster happened and they are increasing in recent years due to global warming.

How much time do you have to learn more about fires in the Red Forest?

1-3 minutes? You might enjoy one of these brief videos.

Russia – Aftermath Of Fire Near Chernobyl AP Archive (2015, July 21).
This is raw footage of interviews (no English voice overs or captions) with people discussing a fire that burned seven ghost villages around Chernobyl. Date of video is given as 1996, April 24. Clicking “see more” on video page will show speakers names and English translations. Total running time of 1:35.

Chernobyl: When fire hits a post-nuclear wilderness BBC News. (2020, April 22).
This video talks about wildlife in the forest and how they are expected to recover after yet another test of their resilience. Total running time of 2:49.

Forest fires rip through Chernobyl, triggers radiation spike around nuclear plant Global News. (2020, April 6).
This raw footage from Global News shows fires burning in the Ukraine in April 2020. At one point radiation levels are shown on Geiger counter. Total running time of 1:39.

Guarding Against Chernobyl’s Radioactive Forest Fires Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (2016, April 22). This video shows the soviet era firefighting equipment that firefighters stationed in the exclusion zone still use to fight fires and warns that more dangerous fires might occur in the future. Total running time of 2:39.

Chernobyl Wildfires Charred Forests, Arson Suspected Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (2020, April 17).   This video includes interviews with citizens blaming arson and poor management of the area for the fires that almost reached the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Total running time of 2:10.

A huge forest fire near Chernobyl has been put out Reuters. (2020, April 14). This video includes the information that a 27-year-old has been arrested and accused with starting the fire that has just been put out. Total running time of 1:08.

RAW: Firefighting in radioactive forests of Chernobyl zone Russia Today. (2015, April 29). Raw video footage of firefighters battling blazes. Total running time of 1:09.

3-5 minutes? There are fewer choices in this group, but they have more content.

Aerial footage shows Chernobyl forest fires still raging as radiation “exceeds norm” Global News. (2020, April 13). This video consists of raw footage of efforts on the ground and in the air to contain the April 2020 forest fires near Chernobyl. Total running time of 3:11.

Chernobyl: Aerials Show How Close Wildfires Came to Nuclear Power Plant On Demand News. (2020, April 15). This video shows footage of forest fires with captions about the current situation and the disaster of 1986. A clip of the Ukrainian president telling citizens everything is okay is included as well as footage of the new containment system being installed. Total running time of 3:17.

Chernobyl fires send radiation particles in atmosphere Russia Today. (2015, April 30). Broadcast from Russia Today showing 2015 fires and concerns of population that government will not tell the truth about the dangers they pose. Firemen shown putting out fires without protective gear. Total running time of 3:28.

Over 15 minutes? This recent video also has some historical content.

Are forest fires unlocking the radiation in Chernobyl? BBC News. (2021, January 10). This video shows volunteer firefighters in the Ukraine battling 2020 forest fires. Some black and white photos of the 1986 affects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster are shown near the beginning. Total running time of 17:26.

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