Buenos Aires, Argentina — Planes and helicopters dumped heavy loads of water Monday on brush fires raging north of Buenos Aires as city residents enjoyed a second day of breathing easy.
But smoke that shrouded the Argentine capital for nearly a week could return by Wednesday if the winds that swept away the haze shift again, forecasters said.
The government claims the fires were intentionally set by farmers clearing scrub brush on the cheap for grazing cattle.
Three people already have been arrested in an arson investigation. Police are searching for others responsible for the nearly 200 brush fires still ablaze that sent clouds of smoke across Buenos Aires last week, disrupting air and highway travel and choking millions of Argentines.
The smoke has drifted across the River Plate as far as neighboring Uruguay, stirring protests by the government over possible health effects from the fires.
Argentine officials responded that the smoke would not cause serious health problems, only minor irritation of eyes and lungs.