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ARGENTINA | 11-10-2023 14:26

Residents evacuated in Córdoba as raging fire destroys homes

At least 30 people evacuated between Monday night and Tuesday morning as fierce fires raged close to cities in Córdoba.

Fresh fires broke out on Tuesday close to different cities across Córdoba Province, prompting the evacuation of more than 30 people from their homes.

The flames have already reached homes, sparking anguish and desperation among locals.

Firefighters and local residents fought to put out fires as their neighbours were evacuated. 

Police arrived at the area after the alarm was sounded over the advancing forest fires.Local officials said the most affected area is the “400 viviendas” neighbourhood, connecting Villa Carlos Paz with Cabalango and Tala Huasi, in the Punilla Valley.

Authorities said Wednesday that a young man had been arrested on suspicions of starting the incendiary outbreaks. Local media named him as 27-year-old Ulises Xarate and said he had been indicted by local prosecutor Jorgelina Gómez for arson.

According to reports, the man admitted starting a fire to heat water in a kettle to make himself some coffee and lost control of the flames. The blaze, now one of the biggest current active outbreaks in the region, spread quickly across many kilometres.

The National Environment & Sustainable Development Ministry said in a statement it had sent three air-tankers, an observer plane and a helicopter with water buckets to fight the fires in Córdoba.

There are a number of firefighting units already onsite, but hostile weather has impeded efforts to put out the flames. Local temperatures are at around 35ºC and gusts of wind from the north were running as strong as 70 kilometres per hour at times.

Some dizzle in the affected region early on Wednesday contributed to efforts to contain the fires. Due to the smoke and low visibility, several roads were pre-emptively closed as part of the operation.

The Argentine Metereological Service maintains an alert for strong winds in Central, Eastern and Northern Córdoba.

 

– TIMES/NA/AFP

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