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Wildfires increase in Costa Rica

The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) reported an increase in wildfires in the country during February.

Since January 15, the institution has implemented the Permanent Alert System for the 2023 forest fire season, strengthening early warning, detection, and patrolling of several areas.

Four fires were taken care of during the first month of the year. Santa Rosa, Palmital, Río Grande Protected, and Colonia Bolaños were severely affected. In total, 34.1 hectares suffered from this unfortunate event.

Recently, SINAC also had to control a fire that originated in farms adjacent to Chirripó National Park, specifically in Herradura de Rivas, Perez Zeledón. Authorities worked extremely hard to prevent it from spreading to the National Park.

During February, the number has increased, and 13 forest fires have been reported and have damaged 281.1 hectares.

Currently, the Central Conservation Area has the highest number of fires, followed by Guanacaste, Tortuguero, Tempisque, Arenal Tempisque, and the Central Pacific.

Given the situation, SINAC requests the population not to light any fires. This restriction must be maintained until the winds slow down and the conditions return to normal.

“Due to the current conditions of strong winds, any flames in natural areas will get out of control and cause a forest fire. Along with the high temperatures, low relative humidity, and current conditions of vegetation desiccation, a small fire can become one that can have severe consequences,” warned Rafael Gutiérrez Rojas.

Wildfires are one of the main problems faced by the National System of Conservation Areas nationwide during the dry season.

The institution asked people to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to avoid forest fires.

“If you observe a forest fire within a Protected Wildlife Area, immediately notify the nearest SINAC Conservation Area office or the 9-1-1 Emergency System,” they stated.

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