“A line of fire”: a fire in Argentina burns 500,000 hectares in the midst of drought

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 14 (Reuters) – A devastating wildfire in Argentina’s northern province of Corrientes has spread to more than 500,000 hectares, or 6% of the region’s total area, highlighting the impact of dry weather due to the Niña climate regime in the South American nation.

A Civil Defense source told Reuters firefighters were working to bring the blaze under control, with homes and a hotel near the provincial capital about 800 kilometers (497 miles) north of Buenos Aires being evacuated as a precaution. .

“The fires are advancing by leaps and bounds and have already burned tens of thousands of acres, turning fields into a line of fire almost impossible to control,” the Farm Entities Liaison Commission said in a statement.

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Corrientes produces agricultural products including citrus fruits, rice, tobacco, yerba mate, cotton, livestock, and forestry.

“There are almost 518,000 hectares on fire,” Nicolas Pino, president of the Rural Society of Corrientes, told a local television station, adding that the hope was that heavy rains would put out the fire.

“The fields will eventually recover, at some point it will rain heavily and this disaster will stop, but that really brings the issue to the fore.”

The National Weather Service predicts little rain for the next few days with only 5 to 10 millimeters expected.

Argentina is in the midst of a second consecutive La Niña, a weather event that typically brings less rainfall to its central agricultural regions, which are critical to the country’s exports and foreign exchange earnings.

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Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Additional reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Alistair Bell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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