Fires destroy 12,000 acres of forest

  Fires destroy 12,000 acres of forest

17 August 2009

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Colombia — Fires ravaged some 12 thousand acres of forest in several parts of Colombia, the country’s Environment Minister said Monday.

“We are talking about at least five thousand hectares of forest. Those burning in the mountains and in the paramos are the most serious because they take a long time to recuperate,” Environment Minister Carlos Costa told Caracol radio.

According to the minister, 95 percent of the forest fire was started by man, either by accident, burning of agricultural soil or by criminals.

The regions most seriously hit by the fires are the coffee-growing region, Valle del Cauca, Tolima and Antioquia. Authorities in the departments of Cundinamarca, Santander and the highlands between Cundinamarca and Boyaca are on high alert for possible new fires.

Colombia is currently in its dry season.

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