Wildfires are burning through Argentine Patagonia since Tuesday, March 9, 2021, leaving some 250 homes destroyed, dozens injured, and around 15 people missing. As of March 12, the flames have scorched about 2 000 ha (4 900 acres).
The fires may have started in a Las Golondrinas sector and then advanced towards Lago Puelo on Tuesday, March 9, according to officials.
"It's a fire that began within the forest where there are the extreme conditions for it to expand," said Lago Puelo Mayor Augusto Sanchez.
Winds caused the flames to spread rapidly, devastating forests and some 250 houses and also prompting about 350 people to evacuate.
Seven people sustained injuries, one of whom was seriously hurt. Environment Minister Juan Cabandié reported at a press conference that at least 15 people went missing.
"I had my house and there's nothing left."— DW News (@dwnews) March 12, 2021
Seven people were injured, and 15 more are missing as wildfires ravage Argentina. Authorities attribute the rapid spread of the fires to high temperatures and windy conditions. pic.twitter.com/mo9IhiyPFa
Argentina's Patagonia is on fire. Lago Puelo, El Hoyo, El Maitén, Cerro Radal, El Bolsón, need our help. No one is talking about it from the National State or the media. Spread the word. pic.twitter.com/SINO4qmaAN— alvaro2k (@alvaroacb2) March 12, 2021
DIOS.. PERDIMOS LA CASA!!— @esteban.coco (@estebancoco1) March 11, 2021
De terror lo que esta pasando en el Sur. Y el Estado ausente.
Varios focos de incendio azotan la Patagonia. Son 7 localidades afectadas en Río Negro y Chubut. El ministerio de @AmbienteNacion envió 2 helicópteros, 3 aviones hidrantes, 12 autobombas, vehículos de apoyo y 104 brigadistas trabajan para mitigarlos. pic.twitter.com/d2mWmqzPlj— Wado de Pedro (@wadodecorrido) March 10, 2021
Other areas affected by the fires were El Bolsón, El Maitén, Epuyén, Futaleufú, and El Hoyo.
In El Hoyo, rains have put out the fire but embers remain under the ash layer, regional government spokesman Alejandro Otero told the AFP.
As of Friday, the flames have burned around 2 000 ha (4 900 acres) of land.
The national government has deployed two helicopters, three fire hydrant planes, 12 fire engines, support vehicles, and 62 firefighters to combat the blaze, according to President Alberto Fernandez.
Featured image credit: Wado de Pedro