Buenos Aires Times

argentina ENVIRONMENT

Wild bushfires burn through 1,500 hectares of native forest in Chubut province

The localities of Lago Puelo and Epuyén, in the Lakes region, are the worst affected areas.

Sunday 3 February, 2019
Chubut's forests threatened by wildfires.
Chubut's forests threatened by wildfires. Foto:Courtesy El Chubut.

Around 200 firefighters were working to control wildfires in Argentina's southern Chubut province this weekend.

The localities of Lago Puelo and Epuyén, in the Lakes region, were the worst affected areas.

A helicopter and several planes were deployed to the region to battle the blaze. The fire has encircled entire areas of the province and it remained out of control on Sunday evening.

Firemen had worked until 11pm Saturday to control the blaze.

Over 1,550 hectares had been lost to the fire, the state-run Télam news agency reported, citing the director of Chubut's Civil Defence unit Walter Flores.

"The fire became uncontrollable yesterday due to intense winds", he said.

Unsurprisingly for the Argentine Patagonia at this time of the year, the National Meteorological Service (SMN) is not forecasting rain any time soon. Instead, temperatures could reach 36° in the coming days.

"These conditions are worsening the situation because it will be hot and windy", Flores added.

Most of the hectares affected by the fire are native forests, though some plantations have also been burned.

Chubut province has also been dealing with an outbreak of Hantavirus, with several dozen people dying since December as a result of the virus transmitted by rat feces and urine.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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