Chile issues red alert over national park forest fire

Chile issues red alert over national park forest fire

7 February 2008

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Chile — A red alert was issued Wednesday after a forest fire continued to spread, reaching the outskirts of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Chile’s Forest Corporation (Conaf) reported Wednesday that the forest fire was ravaging more than 100 hectares of pastureland and tree species, adding that the cause of the blaze remains unknown. There are no immediate reports of human casualties.

The fire is affecting two areas by Las Chinas River, one of which is under control, according to Ana Maria Diaz, deputy governor of the Magallanes Region.

Diaz said 80 volunteers were working in the zone and a further 115 were on their way.

She said Chilean Deputy Interior Minister Felipe Harboe had asked her to deploy all necessary resources to fight the fire.

In 2005, a forest fire in this park, a traditional tourist destination in the South American country’s extreme southern region, burnt an area of over 15,000 hectares, from which the park only recently started to recover.

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