World: Bolivian forest fires destroy two million hectares - PressFrom - US
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WorldBolivian forest fires destroy two million hectares

17:35  10 september  2019
17:35  10 september  2019 Source:   bbc.com

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Fires ravage over a million hectares of Bolivia 's forests . As of Thursday, August 19 officials reported that at least 1.5 million hectares of forest Our appreciation, President Morales, firefighters and other personnel for your efforts to ensure the safety of the Bolivian people. We join in the prayer for

Wildfires in Bolivia have ravaged more than 1.7 million hectares (4. 2 million acres) of land, according to Bolivian officials. That's more than double the damage from just just two weeks ago. Fires are leaving blackened trees and ash-covered forest floors in their wake.

Bolivian wildfires have destroyed two million hectares (almost five million acres) of forest and grassland since August, according to officials.

Bolivian forest fires destroy two million hectares© AFP

Almost half of the losses are in "protected" areas, known for high biodiversity.

Scientists at the College of Biologists in La Paz estimate that regeneration of the local ecosystem will take about 300 years.

The government is under pressure to declare a national emergency.

Defence Minister Javier Zavaleta blamed people for starting the fires, calling them "saboteurs" who are playing a "macabre game".

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Massive fires in the eastern region of Bolivia continue to expand, threatening to destroy thousands of hectares of crops and pollute the air breathed by villagers So far, two people have been killed by the fires , a policeman and a volunteer fire fighter. Bolivian officials reported this week that the fires have

A peak of two million hectares were on fire around 22 September in eastern Siberia, with 'around 900,000 hectares are still on fire today', said Greenpeace, amid concern for Yet again there is a gulf in estimates of the burning forests between the authorities and environmentalists, with the Russian

"We put out the fires and there are people behind us that are starting them again… We cannot control wildfires like this," he said.

High temperatures and strong winds also stoked the flames over the weekend.

Civic groups in Santa Cruz - the worst-affected region - have imposed a Tuesday deadline for the emergency declaration, insisting it would help channel firefighting efforts and international aid.

The fires began in May and intensified in August, while blazes also raged in neighbouring Brazil.

In Bolivia, the Chiquitanía - a transition zone between the Amazon and the Gran Chaco lowlands - is the worst hit.

On Monday, Amnesty International sent a letter to the government, asking President Evo Morales to suspend his July decree, which authorised "controlled burning" in the affected areas to help farmers create bigger plots for crops.

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Fires have so far destroyed 1. 2 million hectares (3. 2 million acres) of forest and grasslands in Bolivia this year, the government said last week, though environmentalists claim the true Bolivian Bishops Express Concern about Amazon Fires . From the frontlines: Fighting Bolivia ’s forest fires .

The Bolivian fires , which mirror those burning across swathes of Brazil, threaten to derail Morales’ In recent weeks, they have swept over 2 .1 million hectares (5. 2 mln acres) in land-locked Bolivia , an area almost the size of New Jersey, burning more than 700,000 hectares of forest in protected

María José Veramendi Villa, South America researcher for Amnesty International, said: "Brazil is not the only country suffering from the terrible forest fires in the Amazon ... Instead of making contradictory and baseless public declarations, Bolivian authorities must scientifically and independently investigate the origin of this serious crisis."

Bolivian forest fires destroy two million hectares© AFP President Morales visited the scene of a fire south of the Amazon basin in August
The president initially dismissed international help in fighting the fires, but as domestic pressure and international attention grew, he later backtracked, unlike his Brazilian counterpart who linked the offer to colonialism.

Mr Morales later agreed to hire a US "supertanker" plane - the biggest of its kind in the world - to drop water on the fires.

Russia has since sent a plane, too. "The State is only paying the operating expenses, it is not a rental," Mr Morales confirmed when it arrived on Monday.

In a series of tweets that day, he said the fires were painful for all to see and he thanked the armed forces for their work to extinguish them.

In August, he briefly suspended his controversial re-election campaign to address the issue.

Mr Morales is currently bidding for a fourth consecutive term, having gone to the courts to abolish term limits. Elections will take place on 20 October.

Read More

Brazil is 'not the culprit' for the Amazon fires, says country's foreign minister.
Brazil's foreign minister addressed the Amazon fires and climate change on Wednesday -- but not in the way you might expect. © ERIC BARADAT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo speaking at the Heritage Foundation on September 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C. In a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araujo denied that his country was responsible for the devastation of the rainforest, and accused other countries and activists of trying to "invade Brazil" under the guise of climate change action.

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