Argentine wildfires devastate pampas
Firefighters in Argentina said Thursday they were bringing under control three wildfires that have devastated nearly a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of the country’s famous pampas, or plains.
Driven by strong winds, high summer temperatures and drought, the fires sent huge swathes of farm and pasture land up in smoke in the central provinces of La Pampa and Buenos Aires, two of agricultural powerhouse Argentina’s most productive regions.
The wind grew even stronger Thursday, leaving firefighters struggling to extinguish the fires and stop them from spreading to populated areas.
Provincial fire management coordinator Marcelo Mosiejchuk reported “major difficulties” in fighting the fires.
But he later said: “There were three hotspots and one has been stopped from spreading.”
“The other two are still active but we expect we will cut off the perimeter of the fire between Friday and Saturday,” Mosiejchuk told AFP.
He said no lives were in danger from the fires. No human deaths or evacuations have been reported.
The blazes killed wild animals and livestock and cut off several roads.
The biggest fire was about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the village of La Adela, population 4,000.
It was started by a lightning strike on New Year’s weekend and is 10 kilometers across, according to firefighters.