BOGOTA – The devastating forest fires that have swept Colombia in the first 21 days this year have burned a total of 11,946 hectares (29,496 acres) in 22 provinces of the country, the government said, adding that there are currently 15 blazes still active.
According to the Interior and Justice Ministry, the flames have burned woodland in 242 Colombian municipalities.
The provinces affected are Antioquia, Arauca, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cesar, Cundinamarca, Guainia, La Guajira, Huila, Putumayo, Quindio, Magdalena, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Risaralda, Santander, Tolima, Valle and Vichada.
“At this time there are 15 active forest fires nationwide, and since Jan. 1 to date, 242 municipalities have been reported to be affected,” Colombia’s Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio said.
He added that in the first 21 days of the year, 548 forest-fire emergencies have been reported nationwide.
The climatic phenomenon El Niño has caused a persistent drought in Colombia in recent months, which in turn has created the conditions for constant wildfires. EFE