A forest fire broke out in the wee hours of Wednesday in the Uruguayan beach resort of Piriápolis, in the department of Maldonado. Firefighters were swiftly deployed to the Cerro del Toro area to keep the flames from reaching Cerro Pan de Azúcar.
Although the fire was held off Piriápolis' urban area, some residents as well as people staying in neighboring camping parks were evacuated as a precaution, Uruguayan media reported. Nobody was injured.
Intentionality has not been ruled out as a possible cause. Two days ago they wanted to set fire in that part, and the firefighters fought it quickly. This time they couldn't and it spread quickly because it was windy at that time, Piriápolis Mayor René Graña said in a TV interview.
Firefighters are working, the west zone road team with all the machinery, and many people from the neighborhood trying to put out the fire, Graña also explained. He added that a 10-meter wide firebreak was implemented which prevented the fire from crossing to the other side where all the houses are.
Graña also regretted that the flames became a little uncontrollable because the fire took place precisely in the middle of the hill.
There are people who are installed in the Mesa Social at the moment and many others who were evacuated from the campsites are in the Argentino Hotel,” he went on.
Maldonado's Emergency Committee (Cecoed) Coordinator Mauricio Souza said the relief teams were working to avoid spreading to areas of greater risk while noting that some houses may still be affected. He also pointed out that the wind shifting to the north could worsen the fire.