Fires destroy 1.5 million hectares of forest land in Bolivia
At least 1.5 million hectares of land have been ravaged by fires in four of Bolivia's nine provinces, with 25,000 individual blazes detected, officials said Tuesday, dpa reported.
The worst-affected was the Amazonian province of Pando in northern Bolivia, said Cliver Rojas of the government department that oversees forests and land.
Rojas noted that the fires were largely due to what is known as "chaqueo," the practice of burning down grassland for cultivation. It spread rapidly because of dry conditions and strong winds.
He added that the fire was threatening the town of Puerto Rico in Pando, and air traffic had to be suspended because of smoke in several parts of eastern Bolivia.
The smoke also led to the suspension of flights at Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which is the largest in the country.