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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Brazil Reports Progress Fighting Wildfire at National Park

SAO PAULO The wildfire that has scorched 25 percent of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in the west-central Brazilian state of Goias is nearly under control, authorities said on Friday.

Officials suspect that arson has played a role in the disaster.

The fire was first detected Oct. 17 and blazes subsequently broke out at other sites in the park, which lies in the Cerrado region, home to a number of endangered species such as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), believed to survive only in the Cerrado.

The most recent outbreak was detected Thursday on the southwestern side of the reserve, according to the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity, the park administrators.

While most of the outbreaks have been brought under control, but some 400 firefighters, police and volunteers are still working to suppress the last of the blazes, the institute said.

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, created in 1961, covered some 65,000 hectares (778,000 acres) until July, when President Michel Temer expanded the protected area to 240,000 hectares (2.9 million acres).

Preliminary investigations suggest that land barons in the region may have started the fires in retaliation for the park expansion.

A Brazilian air force Hercules C-130 aircraft has flown eight sorties over the area affected by the fire, dumping roughly 96,000 liters (23,800 gallons) of water on the flames.

Central and western Brazil are suffering under a severe drought, making wildfires more likely.

 

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