Patagonia forest fires may be worst in Argentina’s history

World Today

Fires have been raging in the thousands of years old forests of southern Argentina in Patagonia. While the operation to save the local environment is still on-going, the question is how and why the fires started in the first place. The Patagonia forest fires have been called the worst fires in the country’s history.

CCTV’s Joel Richards filed this report from Patagonia, Argentina.

Patagonia forest fires may be worst in Argentina\'s history

Patagonia forest fires may be worst in Argentina\'s history

Fires have been raging in the thousands of years old forests of southern Argentina in Patagonia. While the operation to save the local environment is still on-going, the question is how and why the fires started in the first place. The Patagonia forest fires have been called the worst fires in the country's history.

Highlights:

  • Teams of planes have relayed out to Patagonia to combat the fires. They are remote but visible from local towns.
  • Around 240 fire fighters are working in small teams on the ground to stop the fires spreading, detecting fires by either satellite or simply following the smoke spiraling from the forest.
  • Teams of volunteers have scoured the area looking for the focal spots of this fire. They have said the majority of the fires have been contained, but the fear is the extent of the damage.
  • The worst of these fires has passed, leaving vast tracts of land and trees that are thousands of years old completely destroyed. A lack of rain has contributed to the fires.
  • Initial reports suggested lightening set off these fires, but many believe they were intentionally set off.
  • The regional government has said real estate speculation is behind these fires. As a result, the government is taking moves to legislate against any sale of land affected by the fires for 10 years.
  • The fires are not expected to be fully controlled and extinguished until April of this year.