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2 million hectares have been consumed in Bolivia since August due to fires

Only four days have passed since the presidents of Amazonian countries met in Leticia, Amazonas, to sign the pact for the protection of this vital ecosystem for the planet. Evo Morales, the first president of Bolivia, attended the government meeting and signed, after a speech on the importance of pachamama, his responsibility in everything concerning the South American country. In the midst of this, this week the government of the department of Santa Cruz, located in the southwest, announced that the fires recorded since August have devastated two million hectares of forests and grasslands, including ecosystem areas.

The problem goes further, considering that the Bolivian Ministry of Defense denounced deliberate fires and sabotage. The Secretary of Environment of this region, Cinthia Asín, revealed in a press conference the new figure of the damage caused by the fire and demanded to the Executive Power the declaration of national disaster to expand the actions against fires and to channel more international aid.

"We are already more than 2 million hectares burned in the department of Santa Cruz, we are going almost a month (with the problem) and the country is not yet declared a national disaster," said the official. Asín said that of those 2 million hectares, about 900,000 are in protected areas, and that the most affected are now in Otuquis and San Matías, in eastern Bolivia, rich in flora and fauna.

Environmentalists blame laws enacted under the Evo Morales government for encouraging the burning of forests and grasslands to expand the agricultural frontier. However, the ruling party attributed the phenomenon to dry weather and winds. The defense minister, Javier Zavaleta, one of the members of an emergency cabinet, said the government has made efforts to put out the fires, but stressed that they have discovered in recent days that, intentionally, it is again causing fire .

"We are certain that the fire is being deliberately provoked: on the one hand by saboteurs, and on the other hand, by farmers and landowners who are starting fire and fail to control them," he told a news conference. The official said that "this is a macabre game, we put out the fire and there are people behind us who are starting it again, so we will not be able to control the fire."

The Santa Cruz governorate reported that in the first nine days of September, 2,421 new outbreaks of fire have been registered in this region. The claims began in May but extended in August.


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