Bolivian firefighters continued battling on Wednesday (August 21) a series of wildfires ravaging swathes of the country from both land and air.
Using a helicopter to dump water on hot spots, firefighters also used dirt and sand to put out smaller flames in Santa Cruz. Television images showed flames dangerously close to the highway that leads to Brazil.
Bolivia’s government has reported that nearly 500,000 hectares of forest have been left charred from wildfires.
This week, authorities warned that 70% of Santa Cruz Department is under “extreme risk” from forest fires.
Environmental organisations have also warned of damage to more than 500 species of fauna, some endemic, after slash-and-burn tactics combined with dry conditions have caused dozens of forest fires in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday (August 21), President Evo Morales said measures are being stepped up to battle the fires.
Bolivia’s wildfires come as neighbouring Brazil also battles record-breaking fires in its Amazon. (Reuters)
Yemen’s Houthi group said on Wednesday (September 18) it had identified dozens of sites in the United Arab Emirates as possible targets, in an attempt to underscore its military clout following a weekend attack it claims to have carried out on Saudi oil facilities.
Speaking in a televised speech, Yahya Saria, the military spokesman for the Iran-aligned movement, said that even one drone operation would cost the Emirati regime dearly.
He said the Houthis have new drones that can reach targets deep into Saudi Arabia.
“Our forces have reached a very high level of competence and ability on every front. Today, our forces can manufacture and produce several drones in record timing. The armed forces have assured its capability to produce one or more drones per day,” Saria said.
“Today, there are global stances that deserve recognition, the stances that support Yemen’s right to reply to the Saudi-Emirati aggression against our country. And we must specifically name Iran and Turkey, and the other stances who consider the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and I’m sure you’ve all seen these stances,” he added.
In Riyadh, Saudi Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the attack could not have come from Yemen, adding the Houthi movement was “covering up” for Iran.
The UAE is a leading partner in a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to restore Hadi’s government after it was toppled by the Houthis in late 2014. (Reuters)
Bolivia’s battle against wildfires rages on as the country uses any resource it can, from a 747 Supertanker to the humble shovels and machetes of volunteer fire-fighters, to bring a halt to the blazes.
The 747 Supertanker could be seen flying over the dry hills near Tarija, Bolivia on Monday (September 16) dousing fires with thousands of gallons of water.
Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz, family members of fire-fighters who lost their lives while on duty laid them to rest at funerals.
Local media report that two fire-fighters died of cardiac arrest in recent days.
Blazes have burned largely unabated across vast swaths of hilly forest and savannah near Bolivia’s border with Paraguay and Brazil.
At least 1 million hectares, or approximately 3,800 square miles, have been impacted by the fires, officials have said.
Some 2,000 fire-fighters have been mobilized. But the country is amongst the poorest in the region, forcing many in the fire brigade to battle flames with whatever resources they can muster. (REUTERS)
Residents in Brazil’s vast Mato Grosso state were battling blazes spreading in dry brush while Brazil’s military arrived at a remote jungle location to fight the fires that continue to plague the South American nation and threaten the world’s largest rainforest: the Amazon.
As fires spread through dry vegetation and threatened a local farm near Agua Boa in Mato Gross on Wednesday (September 04), local resident Francicles Niatslovs told Reuters a water truck fighting the flames, “but we can’t keep up, its all burning.”
The number of blazes in Brazil has skyrocketed 80% in the year to date compared to the same period in 2018, according to data from space research agency INPE.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s military on Wednesday was aiding efforts to combat the blazes in a remote area of Amazonas state. Military personnel joined firefighters spraying smoldering logs to prevent fires from restarting and spreading.
On August 24, Brazil’s joint military chief said that the country has some 44,000 troops stationed in its northern Amazon region that available to combat forest fires and could send more from elsewhere in the country. (REUTERS)
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