With temperatures approaching 40 degrees, firefighters were, this weekend, mobilized on forest fires in nine of the 23 provinces of Argentina. One of them has been active for more than a month and has destroyed nearly 6,000 hectares of vegetation, with no injuries or evacuations to date.

Nearly a hundred firefighters and support personnel, supported by five planes and four helicopters, fought the most tenacious of these fires near Lake San Martin, in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, not far from the tourist town of Bariloche (1500 km southwest of Buenos Aires), according to the National Fire Management Service (SNMF)

It’s one of the worst fires we’ve had in the area.“, told AFP Lorena Ojeda, director of operations of the SNMF, at the scene of this fire in progress since December 6 following lightning strikes.

Wind and high temperatures, 35 to 40 degrees with peaks above, “contribute to the continued spread of fire“, with weather forecast”rainfall that may not be enough“, according to Ms. Ojeda.




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© AFP


native Andean forest

About 5900 hectares of “native andean forest“, with a mixture of cypress, bamboo, ñire (austral beech), mayten (tree of the spindle family), notro (shrub of the proteaceae) were impacted by the flames. But neither injured nor evacuation was deplored. in this hilly area, with a very low population density.

The fire is 50 km from Bariloche, but there is no risk of evacuation at the moment“, the firefighters told AFP.


Read also : Record temperature recorded in Australia: 50.7 ° C


Fires in the forest areas of southern and central Argentina, a country with an area more than five times larger than France, are an endemic occurrence of southern summers.

But usually less in coastal areas, where several are reported this summer.




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Great thirst in Vincente Lopez, not far from Buenos Aires, on January 13 © AFP


Drought

The recent panorama “climate is very unfavourable, with two consecutive years of drought […], a persistent heat wave“, explained the biologist and deputy minister of the Environment Sergio Federovisky to the public radio station Radio Telam.

Friday’s SNMF bulletin thus reported about thirty outbreaks of varying magnitude in nine separate provinces, half of which “assets“.

However, 2021 was one of the least impacted years in terms of hectares of forest destroyed by fire in five years, according to recent statistics from the SNMF: 330,000 ha recorded, against 1.1 million ha in 2020.

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