Santa Cruz: Fires consumed more than 2.2 million acres

The Santa Cruz government’s Department of Environment yesterday reported 14 forest fires in seven communities. The impacts exceed 2,260,752 hectares, 61 percent of which are in protected areas.

According to Julio Fuentes, who is in charge of the fire protection program, the municipalities with fires are San Ignacio de Velasco, San Matías, San José, San Rafael, Concepción, Antonio de Lomerío and San Javier.

The protected areas affected by the fire are the San Matías ANMI, the Blanco and Negro river reserves (in Concepción) and the San Lorenzo Mountains (in San Javier).

Likewise, Fuentes said 130 new sources of fire were registered yesterday, adding to more than 5,000 this month and more than 39,000 during the year. He affirmed that this data exposes the department to an extreme risk of 36 percent in forest fires and a very high risk of 14 percent.

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The official reaffirmed to the local population that Santa Cruz has been on high alert and the departmental emergency since last August, so he called on himself to work to prevent forest fires by avoiding burns and chaos.

It was also aimed at the authorities of the various national bodies, such as the Authority for the Supervision and Social Control of Forests and Land (ABT), the State Ministry and the State Police, so that they are criminally and administratively identified and punished for those responsible and perpetrators of these environmental crimes .

On the flip side, Fuentes said the government, in coordination with military personnel, volunteer firefighters and community brigades, continues to work to fight and put an end to the fires.

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At present, 10 brigades and three groups of volunteers are being displaced in the affected communities. Yesterday two brigades went to Concepción, one of the communities with the greatest impact.

Rescuer dies in a traffic accident

The Santa Cruz government regrets the death of Ingrid Farell Mérida, a veterinarian who served in the Ministry of the Environment. The officer was killed in a traffic accident while on the way to rescue wild animals from the emergencies of the forest fires.

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