A wildfire burned out of control Thursday in the central Colombian department of Boyaca, threatening the popular tourist destination of Villa de Leyva.
The fire, with flames reaching 10 meters high, began at 6.30 AM Thursday and was initially suffocated by 650 volunteer fire fighters, emergency service workers and the Red Cross, but flared up again. The army was called in to help control the blaze, which was threatening 50 homes and businesses, causing them to be evacuated.
The fire is believed to be a continuation of a fire that destroyed hundreds of hectares of vegetation in the nearby Iguaque Wildlife Sanctuary on Wednesday.
Extremely strong winds began to blow over the area several days ago, creating the conditions necessary to start the fire, and preventing an army helicopter from coming to help combat the blaze, El Tiempo reported.
Authorities are concerned that a dense cloud of smoke that now covers the colonial town may cause respiratory problems for Villa de Leyva’s population.