BUENOS AIRES – A fire has burned almost 15,000 hectares (about 38,000 acres) of native forest and brush in the southern Argentine province of Chubut, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people, authorities reported Tuesday.
“We’re in an extremely complicated situation, with an intense battle against the fire,” Chubut Gov. Martin Buzzi told the media from Cholila, the town closest to the fire.
Buzzi said that in the coming hours another 60 firefighters will join the 120 who are already battling the blaze, aided by 15 mobile units, six cistern aircraft and a helicopter.
“The weather conditions are not the most favorable, with winds from the west and northwest,” as yet making it impossible to bring the fire under control, Chubut Infrastructure Minister Maximiliano Lopez said.
The flames have forced authorities to evacuate dozens of local residents from the area, Lopez said without providing the number of people.
The fire broke out after a lightning strike in the Tigre River valley, some 40 km (25 mi.) from Cholila.