‘We are in an era of megafires’: new tactics demanded as wildfires intensify across South America

Source(s): Guardian, the (UK)


South American countries have introduced new measures and passed environmental laws to prevent wildfires. However, critics argue that implementation has sometimes been patchy. Chile, for example, was already investing £80m a year in firefighting but extended this by a further £40m after last year’s deadly fires.

Despite this, the events of the past few weeks show that funding is not enough, according to some experts. “Resources alone do not determine outcomes,” Cordero says. Despite an early warning system, he says some residents ignored an evacuation order because of concerns for the security of their homes. “Some people feared the thieves more than the fires,” he says.


In Argentina, successive governments have passed environmental legislation – including a general environment law and laws to protect forests and glaciers – but regional authorities have not universally adopted them.

Ana Di Pangracio, the biodiversity director at the Environment and Natural Resources Foundation in Argentina, says that while recent funding increases have been welcome, some regions have not properly implemented fire-management protocols, meaning in some cases it is not clear to which authority central government is supposed to distribute funds.

“It’s not only about money,” she says. “We need a paradigm shift when it comes to fires. We must go from a warlike emergency approach to a more preventive management. If we don’t do that, we will always run behind the fires.”


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Hazards Wildfire
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