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Fires in the Amazon, how have they affected Bolivia?

Fires in the Amazon, how have they affected Bolivia?

Fires have devastated 4.1 million hectares in Bolivia
Fires have devastated 4.1 million hectares in Bolivia

This Tuesday, Evo Morales finally gave the news that we were all waiting for: The fires in the Bolivian Amazon have finally been extinguished. “The stage of recovery of the fauna and flora of our Chiquitania begins. Together we managed to put out the fire and together we will start the post-fire stage”, he affirms. But, what are the real consequences of fires of such great magnitude? We tell you in 5 keys

1. 4.1 million hectares devastated

In August, 30,901 forest fires were registered in the Amazon (Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay). Although most of the news focused on Brazil, in Bolivia, 4.1 million hectares (data from 09/15) have been devastated, especially in the Santa Cruz de la Sierra area, according to the environmental group Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza. It is almost double what was recorded in 2016.

2. Evo Morales did not decree the "national disaster"

Many analysts have criticized the position of President Evo Morales of not decreeing an emergency situation in the area, called a "national disaster." This situation would have accelerated the work of extinction of the fires. The president's decision was criticized by environmental groups, residents and citizen assemblies.

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3. Citizen collaboration

To extinguish the fires, thousands of civil servants and volunteer firefighters, both national and international, have been mobilized. In addition, planes and helicopters from various countries contracted by the government have discharged thousands of liters of water. The first outbreaks appeared on July 20, so it has taken a while more than two months in extinguishing the fire.

4. New decree, possible cause?

At the beginning of July, the Bolivian government modified a decree and authorized clearing (converting a natural forest into land suitable for agricultural production) and the controlled burning of forests in the departments of Beni and Santa Cruz for agricultural purposes on private and community land. Precisely that area is the most affected by the fires.

Some environmental activists and defenders of the rights of indigenous peoples accuse Morales of having changed the regulations to expand farmland. There is also talk of intense drought as a possible cause.

Rescue work in the areas affected by the fires in Bolivia.
Rescue work in the areas affected by the fires in Bolivia.

5. How has it affected the animals?

We have followed the fires closely and have been in close communication with the animal rescue centre with which we collaborate. Although the fire has not reached the NGO, the team has collaborated in the registration and search of injured animals in the area of the Otuquis National Park.

“We have built a care post for the injured animals in the area, although we have hardly found any survivors. All the flora and fauna have been devastated by the flames, the image is devastating! It is not known how many animals have died, but the situation is terrible: there are no fish, food, flowers, everything has burned in certain areas! Another problem is water: animals looking for food or shelter can't find it”, explain the coordinators.

In the animal rescue center they have turned to extinction
In it, they have turned their attention to extinction.


And what can you do?

Now more than ever, the Bolivian animal rescue center needs your help. If you are passionate about animals, you can collaborate:

  • sharing this news in your networks and with all your friends.
  • Making a donation: through we will give you all the information.
  • doing volunteering, on the dates you can, for as long as you can:


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