Wildfire Closes Chile’s Torres del Paine Park

Wildfire Closes Chile’s Torres del Paine Park

30 December 2011

published by www.bloomberg.com

Chile — Chilean officials closed the Torres del Paine national park as a fire that has razed thousands of hectares of forest and grasslands in Patagonia entered a fourth day.

More than two hundred government and military personnel from Chile and neighboring Argentina, four planes and a helicopter have been deployed to bring the blaze under control, according to the Chilean emergency service’s website.

The fire has consumed an estimated 5,700 hectares (14,000 acres) and winds of 90 kilometers (56 miles) an hour forecast for today will fan the flames, the emergency agency, known as Onemi, reported. Several thousands of hectares were destroyed in a 2005 fire started by a camping stove in the park famous for its vertical granite peaks and home to Andean condors, Magellanic woodpeckers and pumas.

“We are facing a highly complex situation, with extreme conditions mainly due to the topography, strong winds and highly combustible vegetation,” Onemi Director Vicente Nunez said today in comments published on the website.

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