Home LATEST NEWS Fires devastate thousands of hectares of forests in Argentina

Fires devastate thousands of hectares of forests in Argentina

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At least five planes and six helicopter water bombers were in action or on standby to intervene in sparsely populated high-altitude forest areas of the provinces of Rio Negro, Chubut and Neuquen.

Some fires are more than 300 km away, such as those at Aluminé and Bariloche, where Environment Minister Juan Cabandié visited Thursday.

Two of the four fires identified in recent days in the province of Neuquen were still active, two in Chubut, and one in two in the Rio Negro, including one near Lake Steffen, in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, about 50 km away. from the tourist town of Bariloche (1500 km southwest of Buenos Aires).

The most important fire, in Aluminé, in the province of Neuquen, had a front of about 4000 meters which continues to advance towards the south-east, in an uninhabited area, and destroyed some 3,900 hectares of native pine and araucarias forest, the mayor of Aluminé, Jorge Lara, reported on local radio.

No casualties have yet been identified, only a 25-year-old firefighter injured by a falling rocks had to be helicoptered to a hospital, but his life was not in danger.

The ministry did not report evacuations, but tourist access to the villages of El Manso and Villegas, in the Lac Steffen and Martin sector, was closed Thursday for 72 hours in order to limit traffic.

However, the local population can continue to access it.

The ministry highlighted the great complexity of the terrain with steep slopes, great distances between the intervention points, the accumulation of vegetable fuels, drought, high temperatures, winds from different sectors and of varying intensity.

The privileged strategy was the attack of the hearths by small mobile teams.

Fires in the forest areas of southern Argentina in Patagonia, which are more than five times the size of France, are a regular occurrence in the austral summer.

Thursday’s National Fire Management System bulletin reported a dozen fires, five of which were active.

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