National Park and hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland burned by wildfires in Argentina: ‘We can’t handle it’ | Abroad

Several wildfires recently destroyed more than 600,000 hectares of land in northern Argentina. The fire spreads in the province of Corrientes, which borders Paraguay, and also rages across the vast Iberia National Park, which has protected animals and plants. In addition, hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland have already been reduced to ashes. The National Fire Service reported at least twenty active fires in the area on Friday.


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Last updated:
02-20-22, 07:58


source:
Buenos Aires Times, Reuters, Twitter




The fire brigade, with police and volunteers, is working to combat the fires that have already affected more than six percent of the land in the northeastern province of Corrientes. The area has been dealing with drought and high temperatures since the end of last year: it is currently summer in Argentina.

However, the fire brigade is not adequately equipped to put out many fires. “More than 600,000 hectares have already been burned, and our teams can’t handle it. We have seaplanes and helicopters, but we just can’t handle it,” District Fire Chief Daniel Bertorello said in a phone interview with Reuters news agency.

Farmers and volunteers help fight the fire. © Reuters

National Park in the line of fire and escaping animals

Ibera National Park, one of the largest freshwater wetlands in the world, has also been devastated by the fires. Rare and endangered species that inhabit the park, such as swamp deer, crocodiles and more than 380 species of birds, are threatened by fire. The pictures show how the animals try to escape from the fire or have died in the flames. “The animals have no water. We leave water in the trees for monkeys and also for crocodiles about two to three thousand liters a day, when we don’t need it to put out the fires. Andrea Pollocki, head of the local tourism agency Downstream is dry,” said Andrea Pollocki, head of the local tourism agency.

A crocodile in a burning field in Corrientes.

A crocodile in a burning field in Corrientes. © AP

It is estimated that the fires devour about 20,000 hectares per day, which means that approximately 700,000 hectares have already been reduced to ash. “The smoke has made it very difficult to make observations and measurements via satellite imagery over the past week,” says Nicholas Carlino of the National Agricultural Cooperative Coninagro, who said last Tuesday that the fields of yerba mate (Argentine herbal tea, editor). At least 3.71 million euros were lost, in addition to 40 million euros in rice crops, and at least 70,000 head of livestock died in the fire, according to the organization.

A man drives over a burning field in Corrientes, Argentina.

A man drives over a burning field in Corrientes, Argentina. © Reuters

Climate change and human activity

According to Enrique Viale, president of the Argentine Association of Environmental Lawyers, the heavy losses caused by the fires are “a sad example of the impact of climate change and human activity on the environment and causing economic losses.” The cause of the disaster, he said, must be sought in “the horrible combination of major drought, global climate change, along with poor local development models based on exotic forests, rice paddies and wetland livestock”.

Provincial Governor Gustavo Valdes last Friday appealed to regional and national governments for “extraordinary help out of this hell”.



Crocodiles and other animals share a watering hole next to a burning field next to the endangered Ibera National Park.

Crocodiles and other animals share a watering hole next to a burning field next to the endangered Ibera National Park. © AP

A crocodile in a watering hole next to a burning field next to the endangered Ibera National Park.

A crocodile in a watering hole next to a burning field next to the endangered Ibera National Park. © AP


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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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