National Post (Latest Edition)
Nine dead as wind fans raging fires
KYIV Forest fires swept through part of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, killing nine people and hospitalizing 14, the emergency service said on Thursday.
The fires, assisted by strong wind, threatened 31 settlements and engulfed an area of about 11,000 hectares, the service said, adding that 120 people had been evacuated.
Authorities said there were a total of 146 fires and most of them had been extinguished. Local agencies reported that at least 250 houses were damaged.
Ukrainian officials have said the fires may have been caused by shelling from a nearby area that is controlled by pro- Russian separatists, a crossing point to which was closed due to the fire.
This spring, forest fires around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant in the north of the country and elsewhere pushed pollution levels in Kyiv to the worst in the world.