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Wildfire ravages UNESCO-listed national park in Argentina

Tue 30 Jan 2024    
| < 1 min read

Buenos Aires: Firefighters in Argentina were battling an “out of control” wildfire in a national park in Patagonia on Saturday, struggling to keep it from reaching two nearby towns.

The fire in Los Alerces National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – has already charred about 600 hectares (1500 acres).

The affected national park, recognized by UNESCO for its outstanding universal value, has long been a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. The designation aimed to protect the area’s ecological richness and preserve its cultural significance. However, the recent wildfire has plunged this pristine environment into crisis.

Temperatures in Patagonia, a normally cold and windy region in Argentina’s far south, have topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the southern hemisphere summer, with two provinces declaring states of emergency due to fire risk until April.

Los Alerces Park features glacier-carved landscapes including rivers and lakes, and pristine forests of alerce trees, the second-longest living tree species in the world.

Local authorities, firefighters, and conservation organizations are working tirelessly to contain the wildfire and mitigate further damage. Emergency response teams are employing aerial and ground strategies to suppress the flames, while experts assess the extent of the ecological damage. Concurrently, conservationists are gearing up for post-fire rehabilitation efforts, aiming to restore the park’s natural balance and protect the surviving biodiversity.

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