Argentina forests burn amid heat wave, drought

Since the start of 2023, fires have destroyed more than 100,000ha of land in Corrientes in Argentina. PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES – Fires in heat wave and drought-stricken Argentina have devoured some 6,000ha of forests in the northern Corrientes province in just days, officials reported on Tuesday.

Three fires continued to threaten while two others were burning but under control, according to Corrientes’ emergency command centre.

No injuries have been reported and the fires have not spread to populated areas. It was expected to rain on Tuesday.

Since the start of 2023, the South American country has faced heat wave after heat wave, and fires have destroyed more than 100,000ha of land in Corrientes, according to the National Agricultural Technology Institute.

In February, Argentina issued health warnings in several provinces under the worst heat wave in decades, with temperatures close to 40 deg C.

The three months from November to the end of January were the warmest such period since 1961, according to the weather service.

While occasional heat waves are normal, climate change has made them “more persistent and more intense”, even in Argentina’s mountainous Patagonia region, meteorologist Enzo Campetella told AFP last month.

In 2022, fires in Corrientes affected more than a million hectares of forests, according to official figures.

The La Nina cycle of the El Nino weather phenomenon brought historically high temperatures last year, leading to crop losses estimated in the billions of dollars. AFP

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