CURRENT – The fires that have been ravaging northern Argentina for weeks have been advancing relentlessly on Sunday, although light rains that began over the weekend have given some hope to firefighters.
The most affected province is Corrientes, where officials say at least eight individual fires continue to burn, devastating at least 9% of its territory. According to the latest official reports, the flames cover about 30,000 hectares (89,000 acres) a day in Corrientes, destroying nearly 800,000 hectares.
Strong winds, low humidity and dryness from drought have contributed to the spread of fires since mid-January. Weather forecasters noted that light rains, which go on Sunday, will continue over the next week.
Mostly rural province with farms, ranches and forests usually characterized by abundant rains.
“It has never happened to us, we have never lived in something like this, we have really been overcome,” said one of the residents of Jorge Ayala,
Authorities estimate the loss so far at more than 26 billion Argentine pesos (more than $ 240 million), and experts say it could take years to rebuild the province.
Firefighters began arriving from all over Argentina, as well as from Brazil and Bolivia.
Artists and public figures are campaigning to raise funds for the victims, while donations of basic goods are pouring into the area.
People bring fruit, water and ice, said Laura Nunez, a volunteer who helps fight fires. “They bring it in a trailer, they do their best so we can focus on the fire and try to help,” she said.
Light rain cheered the firefighters.
“It’s a blessing from God, I think God has had mercy on us,” said another volunteer, Estefania Riveira, who carries buckets of water to “help our animals.”
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