Firefighters Battle Patagonia Forest Fire

06 February 2021

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ARGENTINA – Firefighters on Friday battled a fierce fire that broke out more than a week ago in a wooded area of the Argentine province of Río Negro, injuring one person and forcing the evacuation of several others.

The blaze has destroyed more than 10,000 hectares near the tourist town of El Bolsón, located about 1,700 kilometers (1056 miles) south of Buenos Aires, near Patagonia and close to the border with Chile.

The fire is being fought by more than 150 brigade members of the local firefighter service and volunteers, and its cause has not yet been established, according to Rio Negro authorities.

The affected area is mountainous and has some valleys, making it difficult to extinguish the fire.

A score of Argentine provinces suffered fires in 2020.

Córdoba, in central Argentina, was the most affected, with some 331,000 hectares burned, in a year when more than a million hectares were destroyed.

The Argentine National Meteorological Service indicated that the South American country experienced an extensive and prolonged drought last year that affected more than half of the territory.

The lack of rain made 2020 the driest year since 1995.

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