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News > Country

France Sends Specialists to Fight Wildfires in Bolivia

  • Bolivians move away from an area with forest fires, Nov. 23, 2023.

    Bolivians move away from an area with forest fires, Nov. 23, 2023. | Photo: X/ @JimenaMercadoC

Published 24 November 2023 (17 hours 56 minutes ago)
Opinion

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 70 Venezuelan firefighters also arrived to support in mitigating the ongoing fires.

On Friday, France dispatched a team of specialists in wildfire combat to the Santa Cruz department, one of the areas most affected by the fires in the Bolivian Amazon.

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Forty firefighters and rescue professionals will join local efforts, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry said, adding that the French team will operate in two protected areas.

French President Emmanuel Macron responded to the request for assistance from Bolivian authorities. On Thursday, Bolivia received a donation of 53 firefighter helmets through the French cooperation.

Additionally, between Tuesday and Wednesday, 70 Venezuelan firefighters arrived in Bolivia to support in mitigating the ongoing fires in the northern region of La Paz.

President Luis Arce's text reads, "We are making extreme efforts to combat fires by land, air and river. So far we have extinguished 134 forest fires, mobilized 5,612 firefighters and 92 military units, and carried out 91 explorations with Eco Charlie, Z9, and Super Puma helicopters. We carried out 250 discharge operations of almost a million liters of water, with Bambi Bucket."

For several weeks, Bolivia has been grappling with the consequences of fires in forested and agricultural areas, particularly in the eastern and northern Amazonian regions of the country. The smoke from these fires is impacting air quality in cities such as Santa Cruz and La Paz.

Many of the fires are attributed to "chaqueos," which are controlled burns practiced in agricultural areas to prepare the land for planting or grazing.

Bolivian President Luis Arce delivered over 72 tons of humanitarian aid to affected families in nine municipalities. He also deployed 2,900 police officers.

"Taking care of our wildlife threatened by fires is also a priority. Rangers, veterinarians and biologists were deployed, and water fountains were placed in strategic places in the Kaa Iya Park and the Gran Chaco Integrated Management Natural Area," he added.

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