A total of 26,000 hectares of forest, grassland and pasture has been destroyed by fire so far this year in Colombia, the National System of Disaster Prevention and Attention announced Monday.
The governmental body said that fires had been reported in 321 municipalities in 23 of the 32 Colombian departments.
Despite the efforts of authorities, fifteen fires continue to burn out of control in the departments of Arauca, Cundinamarca, Boyaca, Casanare, Tolima and Norte de Santander. A further four fires are now reportedly under control.
Fires burning around the popular colonial tourist town of Villa de Leyva have been controlled. However 1,200 hectares of primary forest, including 800 hectares of the Iguaque Wildlife Sanctuary near to Villa de Leyva, have been reduced to charcoal.
Despite the devastation, no fatalities have been registered.
Colombia is undergoing a period of extreme drought and heat caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.
Officials have reported that there is little hope for relief from the drought, and that the dry season could run through April.