Fires in Argentine wetlands cause large smoke



BUENOS AIRES (AP) — The fires in the Paraná Delta, which in recent days have consumed thousands of hectares of that great Argentine wetland, caused smoke on Tuesday that affected neighboring cities and that could be perceived from Buenos Aires.

Early in the morning and due to the direction of the wind, the smell of burning could be felt north of the Argentine capital, located more than 350 kilometers from the jurisdiction of Victoria -in the province of Entre Ríos- where one of the outbreaks is.

Meanwhile, four people are detained on suspicion of having set fire to the grasslands of the islands that make up this wetland that extends through the provinces of Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, in the east of the country. It is expected that they will be investigated by the justice in the next few hours.

The fires, which have already devastated this area in the last two years, have been reproducing for about 15 days while the drop in the Paraná River and the lack of rain persist. On Monday night, the smoke forced traffic to be cut off on the bridge over the Paraná River that connects the cities of Rosario and Victoria, and some people shared images of the fire that could be seen from the road on social networks.

“We urgently need the burning to stop, if not the resources, which are good, both human and material, there comes a time when they are unsuccessful due to the indiscriminate burning that is taking place,” said Favio Giovanettoni, director of Civil Defense in the Buenos Aires town of San Pedro, which supports Entre Ríos in the fight against the fire.

San Pedro currently has more than a hundred brigade members from different parts of Argentina, two hydrant planes and two army helicopters.

The Paraná Delta area, very rich in biodiversity, suffered in 2020 and 2021 the loss of hundreds of thousands of hectares, many times due to fires caused by landowners who sought to renew the pasture with which they feed cattle, according to The authorities.

Hunters who burn to visualize their prey would also have been responsible.

The Multisector Wetlands calculates that in recent days more than 7,000 hectares have been affected in different areas of the Delta and some 100,000 so far in 2022. The group brings together citizens called for the defense of wetlands, many of whom come from different organizations.

Meanwhile, around one million hectares have burned due to the fires that have occurred since 2020, according to calculations by different organizations.

Juan Cabandié, Minister of the Environment, said a few days ago that the government is trying to get the justice of Entre Ríos to determine who is responsible for starting the outbreaks.





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