From California’s King Fire, one of 25 photos. A firefighter battling the King Fire watches as a backfire burns along Highway 50 in Fresh Pond, California, on September 16, 2014. The fire led officials to call on about 2,000 people to evacuate from areas threatened by the blaze. It has charred more than 70,000 acres and is currently listed as 5 percent contained. (Reuters/Noah Berger)
What happened at Chernobyl should be remembered, memorialized even, as a poignant reminder of one of the 20th century’s greatest human catastrophes. Remember it through cold statistics, or through the moving accounts of its survivors. Remember it by visiting for yourself, and by walking these streets which were once home to 50,000 unsuspecting citizens. Do not, however, fall into the trap of mistaking this place for a “time capsule.” Pripyat is not the Mary Celeste. It is a ghost town, in which the footprints of the dead have been trampled past recognition into the radioactive dust; their cries drowned out by thousands upon thousands upon thousands of shutter clicks.