The Unified Command of the Los Alerces National Park and the Provincial Fire Management Service of the Chubut Forest Secretariat have reported that a forest fire has devastated 3,147 hectares of the park. The fire remains active on most fronts, and 70% of the hectares burned in Chubut belong to the Los Alerces National Park.
More than 260 brigade members have been deployed in eight sectors of the natural reserve to prevent the flames from spreading further. Manual tools, aerial means, and road machinery have been used to combat the fire. Road machinery was used to open firebreaks and containment strips in sectors closest to building structures and internal rural roads.
Air support from helicopters and hydrant planes has been used to discharge water over critical points. Observation drones have been utilized to monitor the development of the flames and evaluate the status of the fire fronts. The fire has been particularly intense in the canyons, and the operation deployed on Sunday had to be modified due to an increase in temperature and the presence of predicted wind.
The head of the Fire Communications and Emergencies department of the Los Alerces National Park, Mario Cárdenas, stated that the fire is still active in all sectors. The fire was detected on January 25, and the Federal Police Argentina was assigned to survey the area to verify the hypothesis that it was an act caused by a third party. The Government of Chubut became a plaintiff in the investigation, hoping that exemplary measures would be applied against the alleged perpetrators.
Investigators have indicated that the fire may have been premeditated and possibly caused by the Mapuche community “Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM).” There is a notable similarity between the current fire and the one fought last year in a nearby area. The investigation does not have any detainees, but a Mapuche leader named Cruz Cárdenas is suspected of starting the fire.
The authorities have confirmed that authorized tourist services operate normally, but extreme caution is advised when driving on the section of provincial route 71 that crosses the reserve. Vehicles destined to work in the operation have priority passage through the area. The fire has caused significant damage to the native forest in the Los Alerces National Park and the province of Chubut.
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Environment, Travel, World