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Fire in Chapada Diamantina National Park Continues to Spread

12/10/2015 - 08h56

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JOÃO PEDRO PITOMBO
FROM SALVADOR

The fire devastating the Chapada Diamantina, in the state of Bahia, has become stronger this week, with the blaze consuming new areas of native vegetation in at least five places.

The fire began 40 days ago. It has reached 60 river sources and consumed at least 50,000 hectares, 15,000 of which are in the Chapada National Park, threatening 10% of the protected area.

The data comes from satellite georeferencing studies carried out by the Bahia government and obtained by Folha.

The new fronts of the fire have reached the regions of Vale do Capão, Mucugê, Andaraí and Ibicoara, with an area of the national park falling within the latter.

At least four ecological paths have had to be closed in recent days because of the blaze, one of which is the famous trail Cachoeira da Fumaça, which was closed on Monday (7) but reopened on Tuesday (8).

This is the third worst fire registered in the Chapada since 2000, a region which brings together the biomes of Atlantic Forest, Cerrado (Savanna) and Caatinga (an ecoregion characterized by desert scrubland and forest).

The dry weather, along with the winds, have spread the fire to areas of difficult access to firefighters. While it has rained in the region in recent weeks, it has not been enough to halt the progress of the blaze.

The government of Bahia says it will send another 42 firefighters to reinforce the teams on the ground.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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