Chilean park hit by wildfire reopens

Chilean park hit by wildfire reopens

04 January 2012

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Chile — Chile on Wednesday reopened a national park scorched by a major wildfire that broke out last week, the country’s president said.

The fire, which has consumed some 36,000 acres, more than 14,500 hectares, is extinguished in most places, and the few remaining hotspots are under control, President Sebastian Pinera said Tuesday.

About 100,000 hectares of the 240,000 hectares that make up the Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile will be open to the public, Pinera said.

The reopened portion accounts for about 80% of the park’s tourist areas, he said.

While the national park recovers from the fire, a number of new regulations will be put on visitors, Pinera said.

All visitors will be instructed on the safety rules of the park, and guides will accompany tourists to ensure that all rules are followed, he said.

A 23-year-old Israeli is accused of lighting a fire in a prohibited area of the park the grew into the wildfire. Prosecutors also accuse him of making the situation worse by not reporting to authorities that the fire got out of his control.

Rotem Zinger has denied that he was the one who sparked the fire.


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