Fires have ripped through at least a million hectares – approximately 3,800 square miles – in Bolivia.

While the world’s attention has been focused on the destruction to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, neighbouring Bolivia is struggling with fires raging through the Robore region.


The fires have doubled in size since Thursday, destroying villages and vast tropical forests near Bolivia’s borders with Paraguay and Brazil.

Two months ahead of election day, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has put his re-election campaign on hold for at least a week so he can focus on the situation.

Residents protest demanding the Bolivian government to declare natural disaster and the entrance of international aid due to wildfires in the region, outside the building where the Bolivian environmental cabinet is meeting in Robore, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on August 25, 2019
Bolivians have been calling for more action from their president
Firefighters in Bolivia
Firefighters have been joined by the Bolivian military in tackling the fires

Mr Morales was initially reluctant to accept international help, saying Bolivia would manage alone.

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But the growing desperation from villagers and officials appear to have changed his mind.

He said: “There have been offers of aid. They are welcome, be they from international groups, people or presidents.”

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Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Chile and Spain have offered support and a Boeing 747 “supertanker” has been brought over from the US to help fight the fires.

Bolivia has deployed more than 2,000 of its own firefighters, troops, small aircraft and helicopters.

But like his Brazilian equivalent Jair Bolsonaro, Mr Morales has been accused of making the fires worse through his rural development policies.

Both leaders are accused of allowing the land to be burned so it can be used for farming or housing.

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Meanwhile, the Amazon rainforest in Brazil continues to burn and firefighters there told Sky News that 90% of the fires are manmade, designed to clear forests so they can be replaced by farmland.

Anger from the international community pushed Mr Bolsonaro to send in the military to help the firefighting effort last week.

The Brazilian government says progress is being made.

Help is also coming from Ecuador, Chile and Israel but there are more than half a dozen states needing assistance.



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