Firefighters in Argentina were battling an “out of control” blaze in a national park in Patagonia on Saturday, struggling to keep it from reaching two nearby towns.
The fire in Los Alerces National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — has already charred about 600 hectares (1500 acres).
“The fire is out of control,” said Mario Cardenas, head of the park’s fire, communications and emergency department.
Conditions are “unfavorable because we still have a lot of wind and high temperatures. This makes our work very difficult,” he said.
Temperatures in Patagonia, a normally cold and windy region in Argentina’s far south, have topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the southern hemisphere summer, with two provinces declaring states of emergency due to fire risk until April.
Chubut province rescue workers were trying to block flames from reaching the towns of Esquel and Trevelin, about 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires.
Los Alerces Park features glacier-carved landscapes including rivers and lakes, and pristine forests of alerce trees, the second-longest living tree species in the world.
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