Fires without truce in Neuquén and Río Negro: the fire in Bariloche cannot be controlled

December 23, 2021

For these hours the concern and uncertainty persists in Neuquen due to the uncontrolled fire that was unleashed days ago in lot 39 of the area of Quillén, near the town of Aluminé, since the firefighters work day and night but still could not contain the flames that, according to local media, has already affected some 1,300 hectares of native forest.

Photos and videos that circulate on social networks show the devastating panorama that exists in this sector of the Neuquén province, to which, in many cases, only accessible by horse, something that hinders the tasks of the brigade members who fight against the forest disaster.

“The wind rotated a lot this Wednesday, so we decided to lower the brigade members to preserve their lives. At five in the afternoon, the wind turned and the fire was going to Tromen. Theoretically, you have to see how the fire evolves to see if it returns to Lake Quillén ”, he described to LU5 the undersecretary of Territorial Development and Environment, Jorge Lara.

Aerial view of the flames in Neuquén

According to the state of affairs prepared this Wednesday, Lara specified: “An evaluation was made flying over the area and with satellite issues, they estimate 3,000 hectares affected. They are native forests, they are very tall araucarias, they are huge and we all know that they are many years old.”.

The provincial official anticipated that this Thursday he would arrive in the province Juan Cabandié, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Nation. “It is that he was asked for more air resources. Por land we will not be able to stop it and it will continue to advanceLara pointed out.

Concerned about the serious situation, the mayor added: “What we are asking the Nation for are more air means to fight the fire from above. This Thursday we will meet and see what we can do, although we have all the means we can working: between the people of provincial forest fires and the national fire management plan. We are working everything on the ground ”.

In dialogue with radio National, the journalist Nélida López, from LRA17 Nacional Zapala, reported this Thursday that staff from the Nation, Neuquén province and staff “from Córdoba and San Luis” who has arrived to collaborate with the local firefighters.

Forest fire in Quillén, Neuquén province
Workers fighting fire in Neuquén

Likewise, López explained that the voracious fire broke out last Thursday, from lightning that struck in the middle of a thunderstorm that hit the Aluminé and Quillén region.

This version was ratified by Gabriel Alamo, Mayor of Aluminé, in dialogue with LM Neuquén. “Lightning struck a monkey puzzle tree and usually takes 72 hours or more to ignite. There is no doubt that the fire started as a result of an electrical storm ”, he assured.

Álamo, for its part, reported that at the moment no evacuees were reported and work continues to turn off the active lights. “90 percent of the province’s brigade members are working on this fire. We know that it is important to take care of these people in a risky task putting the body against the flames, “said the official.

The fire also does not stop in Bariloche and has already reached the top of the Santa Elena hill

In Bariloche, Río Negro province, the situation is not far from what is happening in neighboring Neuquén. The fire unleashed between lakes Steffen and Martin, located about 65 kilometers from the city, could not yet be controlled by the provincial firefighters and the flames have already reached the top of the Santa Elena hill, as reported by a neighbor in the area to the newspaper Black river.

According to the testimony of Rubén Figueroa, who resides in the affected area, National Parks brigade members returned to the place this Wednesday and “made a strip of about two hundred meters by ten meters wide.”

Fires in Patagonia
Ravaged area. Simultaneous fires affect the provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro.

The villager also reported the work of a hydrant plane, which made some discharges of water on the burned ground but was not enough to appease the flames. “The head of the fire is at the top of Cerro Santa Elena and the tail is still in Lake Martin, which is still burning. That is why the people of El Manso receive so much smoke, ”explained Figueroa.

Given the seriousness of the situation, this Wednesday The Regional COE was formed between the Nation and the province of Río Negro for the fire in the Lake Steffen area.

Fires in Patagonia
Fires in Patagonia.

The Regional Emergency Committee is made up of members of the National Fire Management Service, National Parks, the South Regional Directorate of APN, Civil Protection of the Nation, Civil Protection of the Province of Río Negro, Civil Protection of Bariloche, Prevention Service and Fight Against Forest Fires, and coordinated by the Forest Fire Fighting Directorate of the National Parks Administration, as reported on the Nahuel Huapí National Park Facebook.


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There are 23 forest fires in December alone and the dry season in Colombia will last until March 2022