Argentine Patagonia hit by devastating fire covering over 80,000 hectares
About 80,000 hectares of Argentine Patagonia came under fire during the weekend and the smoke has even reached the city of La Plata, a little over 1,000 kilometers northeast of the epicenter in the Puerto Madryn region, in the province of Chubut.
Some 226 firefighters were deployed, in addition to nine planes, eight helicopters, six lorries and other equipment to put down the flames.
The incident began last Saturday down National Route 3, making it necessary to evacuate the town of Puerto Pirámides.
The Argentine Ministry of the Environment has reported there were still two active focus in Chubut, one in the department of Biedma, and the other in the department of Tehuelches, although the latter was said to be under control.
In addition to firefighters, hundreds of people, many of them volunteers from the towns affected and from others not far off, have joined the efforts alongside Civil Defense, National and Provincial Roads, and the provincial Ministry of Security.
At the request of the province of Chubut, the National Government sent 2 hydrant planes to fight the fire in the Puerto Madryn area.
The federal Government also wired AR $ 368 million (US $ 3.5 million at the official exchange rate) to the National Fire Management Fund to cover the expenses of operations in Patagonia.
Smoke from the forest fire in has been detected in the Greater Buenos Aires area, particularly in the provincial capital: La Plata, according to the local newspaper El Día, which also explained the situation was due to the strength and direction of winds coming from Patagonia.
In the sky of La Plata you can see its particles, in addition to its smell, El Día said. The newspaper also updated the Ministry of Environment and said there were no active foci by Tuesday.
It was a fire that has had an extreme behavior from the beginning and I estimate that the flames consumed between 80,000 and 90,000 hectares of natural forest, Civil Defense Director José Mazzei was quoted by El Día as saying. There is a lot of dust in suspension, but no active smoke columns are seen, since the wind conditions and the change of fuel that the fire had, caused it to subside, but we are going to have to evaluate it with an overflight, he added.
This morning we do not see active sources, but we have to continue working in the area … so that there is not much flammable around in case fire reignites, according to Deputy Puerto Madryn Firefighters Chief Ricardo Saavedra.