Authorities in the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego have declared an environmental emergency this week and extended a ban on lighting fires in wild areas until 2024 due to the increasing number of forest fires.
The provincial Legislature passed a bill from the province's executive branch declaring the environmental emergency until June 30 next year due to the scenario caused by the fires. The measure also provides for the mitigation of environmental and productive damages by allowing the Governor's Office to readjust budget items in order to reallocate them to contribute to environmental management.
The norm also established in its article 7° the prohibition to light fires in wild areas and organized camps until June 30, 2024.
Fires continue to be active in the Tolhuin area and firefighting has been focused on protecting houses in Lake Yehuin. A crew from the National Fire Management Service (SNMF) was deployed by helicopter to Isla Guanaco to attend secondary outbreaks close to the houses, it was also reported. Airlifted work would continue, weather permitting, SNMF announced.
The smoke is already causing respiratory problems among the population in the city of Tolhuin, where the emergency protocol was activated in the sector of Laguna Palacios with the presence of Fire Management brigades, National Park, Provincial Police, Civil Protection and Firefighters of Tolhuin.
We understand that the priority is Tolhuin but the situation is desperate in the Yehuin area, resident Nahuel Donoso told local media. We need help because we are improvising trying to prevent the fire from reaching La Rinconada, a neighborhood of weekend houses, Donoso went on.
He also said some 70 families were arming themselves to face the fires with whatever they could because there were no authorities nearby. The families have decided to stay, we do not want to leave, to lose our houses because it is ours and it is a lot of effort, he added.