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    Fires continue to hit Argentina hard

07:14 15 February 2022 Author :  

Fires continued to ravage Argentina’s northeastern province of Corrientes on Monday, according to authorities. 

Authorities said 519,000 hectares have been affected by the blazes, with homes and hotels evacuated due to the advancing flames.

The head of Civil Defense Operations in Corrientes, Orlando Bertoni, said the most troubling area is the town of Ituzaingó.

Bertoni told local news agency Télam that a large hotel chain belonging to Howard Johnson Co. which sits on the banks of the Paraná River had to be evacuated due to the threat of fires and smoke alongside homes in the affected area.

He added that authorities have extinguished one fire but others remain which continue to affect forests, fields and estuaries.

Bertoni said firefighters are continuing to battle the blazes alongside other authorities including the Argentine Army, adding teams fighting the fires have had success in quelling some of them in San Miguel and Loreto.

Authorities are now focusing efforts on fires in Ituzaingó and Riachuelo.

The National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) reports that fires have impacted 519,000 hectares, which is six times higher than figures in January 2021.

According to a study carried out by INTA technicians Griselda Sauceda, Ruth Perucca and Ditmar Kurtz, "satellite evidence indicates that there is a continuous increase in the total area affected by burning since the beginning of 2022, at an average rate of almost 20,000 hectares per day."

Low rainfall in the last two years coupled with high temperatures have propelled the fires.

Authorities continue to battle the blazes, with water planes being sent by the country’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and efforts from other provincial governments such as firefighters.

In late December, the Federal Council of the Environment (Cofema) and the Ministry of Environment declared an emergency throughout Argentina for 12 months due to the threat of fires./aa

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