A forest fire in the north-eastern municipality of Piedecuesta in Colombia’s Santander state lasted two days and burned 75 acres of land, local media reported on Tuesday.
Three fire and rescue vehicles rushed to the scene to rescue 20 men trapped in the middle of the blaze but no one was injured, reported Bucaramanga’s Vanguardia newspaper.
Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire but a recent heat wave in the region are thought to have contributed to the blaze.
Most of last week, Pieducuesta maintained a temperature of approximately 90 degrees including on Sunday and Monday during the fire, according to Accuweather, a global weather service.
Alfredo Luis Riano, Head of Operations Volunteer Fire Department in Piedecuesta was quoted in Vanguardia saying this is “a very unfortunate fire that consumed native forest.”
Colombia’s eastern and central regions have seen many fire emergencies this year, including a forest fire in the central state of Boyaca.
Crop losses because of the fire were also reported, although 30% to 70% of the land affected was forest. In 2010, 54.5% of Colombia is covered by forest, according to the United Nations data.
But, the fires are not the only thing affecting forests in the region.
Relief workers warned residents not to facilitate regeneration harvest by burning, according to Vanguardia. Regeneration harvest is controlled burning done in order to restore grasslands for livestock, and to increase farmlands.
There was also a warning about deforestation issued earlier in 2014 to the state of Santander by the Institute of Meteorology and Environmental Studies, within the national Ministry of Environment and Hydrology (IDEAM).
IDEAM also reported the total loss of forest area between 2011 and 2012 was 731 acres, according to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper.
On the weather end, Piedecuesta’s temperatures will reach a low of 75 degrees Fahrenheit with thunder storms almost every day for the rest of June, according to Accuweather.
This latest dry, hot weather comes just months after severe drought left thousands of livestock dead in the close-by eastern state of Casanare.
- Alertan sobre ocho nuevas zonas de deforestación en Colombia (El Espectador)
- June Weather (Accuweather)
- Proportion of land area covered by forest, percentage (UN Data)
- Un incendio arrasó con 30 hectáreas de bosque nativo (Vanguardia)