BUENOS AIRES – The fire in the Las Alerces National Park, in Argentina’s southern Chubut province, continues to burn out of control on Sunday and has already destroyed 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres), local media reported.
In the past few hours, authorities have stepped up the emergency operation to put out the blaze, which broke out last Thursday. Officials are trying to determine if arson was involved, specialists working in the area told Continental Radio.
Park authorities on Thursday evacuated 15 people while about 10 families opted to abandon their homes in the area on their own.
Chubut Gov. Mario Das Neves on Saturday visited the park to evaluate the situation with local leaders and emergency services personnel and to visit the people affected by the blaze.
Last summer, the area was affected by a fire that burned a total of about 4,400 hectares (11,000 acres) of native forest, of which around one-quarter was within the confines of Los Alerces.