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ARGENTINA | 26-12-2021 08:37

Firefighters battle against forest fires in Río Negro, Chubut and Neuquén

Some 250 firefighters and national park employees battled blazes in Patagonia over Christmas, with thousands of hectares of forest destroyed. Fires are raging in high-altitude, little populated forest areas of the southern provinces of Río Negro, Chubut and Neuquén.

Some 250 firefighters and national park employees battled blazes over the holiday season in Patagonia, which have destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, authorities said.

Fires are raging in high-altitude, little populated forest areas of the southern provinces of Río Negro, Chubut and Neuquén.

Some are as much as 300 kilometres (200 miles) apart. No casualties have been reported, and no evacuations ordered. 

In Aluminé, in the west of Neuquén Province and in the Cordillera region, fires consumed some 3,900 hectares of native pine and araucaria forests, the mayor's office reported.

"We have a front of approximately 4,000 metres that continues to advance towards the southwest," Aluminé Mayor Jorge Lara, told local radio station LU5.

South of Bariloche, bomberos were battling fires in the wooded areas of Villegas and El Manso on Friday.

The Environment Ministry said the firefighting effort was complicated by difficult terrain, distances between blazes, wind, high temperatures and dry vegetation in the midst of a drought. 

Head of the portfolio, Juan Cabandié, visited the affected area just a few days ago. He ordered the deployment of planes and helicopters to assist firefighting efforts on steep terrain.

The Ministry announced on Twitter that it had set up "a crisis committee to coordinate support for the provinces affected by the forest fires."

Fires in the Patagonian summer are a common occurrence. Last year, tens of thousands of hectares of forest were destroyed in fires in Argentina.

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

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