Light rain brings hope to the fire-torn Argentine state


Corrientes, Argentina — A wildfire that has devastated northern Argentina for several weeks relentlessly progressed on Sunday, although light rains that began over the weekend gave firefighters hope.

Corrientes is the most affected area, and authorities said at least eight separate fires continued to burn, devastating at least nine percent of its territory. According to the latest official report, the flame consumes about 30,000 hectares (89,000 acres) per day in Corientes and has destroyed about 800,000 hectares so far.

Since mid-January, fire has spread due to strong winds, low humidity, and drought. According to the forecast, the light rain on Sunday was expected to continue next week.

Predominantly rural states of farms, ranches and forests are usually characterized by heavy rainfall.

“It never happened to us, we never lived something like this, we were really overcome,” said one resident, Jorge Ayala.

Authorities have so far estimated losses of over 26 billion Argentine pesos (more than $ 240 million), and experts say it could take years for the state to recover.

Fire brigades are beginning to arrive from every corner of Argentina, as well as from Brazil and Bolivia.

Artists and public figures are campaigning to raise money for the victims, and basic merchandise donations are being poured into the area.

People bring fruits, water and ice, said Laura Nunez, a volunteer helping to fight the flames. “They bring it to the trailer and they make everything possible so we can focus on the fire and try to help,” she said.

A light rain cheered up the firefighters.

“It’s a blessing from God. I think God has mercy on us,” said Estefania Riveiro, another volunteer carrying a bucket of water to “help our animals.” rice field.

Victor Caivano

Associated Press

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