MONTEVIDEO -- A man died and 10 houses burned in a fire on Cerro del Burro, a hill near the Uruguayan city of Piriapolis, where thousands of tourists are spending their Southern Hemisphere summer vacations, officials said Sunday.
The 56-year-old man died Saturday while trying to assist in the firefighting effort.
Ten houses in the resort city of Playa Verde, located some five kilometers (3.1 miles) from Piriapolis, were destroyed by the fire and several others were damaged by the intense temperatures generated by the blaze.
Firefighters, soldiers, Maldonado city government employees and dozens of residents worked to put out the blaze, which scorched several hectares.
A man who lives in the area admitted that he started the blaze when he lit a cooking fire, left it for a while and then did not ensure that it was out.
The man has been arrested, officials said.
On Cerro del Toro, a hill in Piriapolis, located 90 kilometers (about 56 miles) from Montevideo, another fire broke out Saturday, scorching several hectares and threatening some cabins, but no one was injured.
Four air force helicopters are dumping water on the fire zone, which is hard to reach.
"The fire on Cerro del Toro is under control but has not been extinguished," fire department spokesmen said Sunday.
Uruguay has been experiencing a drought and high temperatures this summer, creating the perfect conditions for fires to start, with some blazes blamed on arson.