Argentina, fire at UNESCO site in Patagonia: it was arson

The fire that destroyed around 600 hectares in the Los Alerces National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site in Argentine Patagonia since 2017, was devastating. According to local authorities, it was of malicious origin: “We have confirmation that the fire broke out not due to natural causes”, declared Ignacio Torres, governor of the province of Chubut, who flew over the area. “Those responsible must be brought to justice”, he added, calling for “exemplary treatment”.

The investigations

In these hours there are still dozens of firefighters who are still fighting the flames that have been devastating the park for three days. The objective is to prevent them from reaching the nearby cities of Esquel and Trevelin, about two thousand kilometers south-west of Buenos Aires. In an interview with Rivadavia radio, the governor suspected that members of the Ancestral Mapuche Resistance (RAM) caused the fire. This is a radical but marginal group of the local indigenous community, which claims lands stolen by the state in the nineteenth century and fights against deforestation.