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HomeNewsIllegal Hunters Caused Forest Fire in Costa Rica’s Carara National Park

Illegal Hunters Caused Forest Fire in Costa Rica’s Carara National Park

According to the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), illegal hunters were responsible for causing a large-scale fire in Carara National Park.

Since last Monday and until yesterday, March 15, Forest Firefighters of the Central Pacific Conservation Area (ACOPAC) dealt with a forest fire with an estimated perimeter of 3 km.

“According to the latest report provided by the conservation area’s environmental authorities, the causes of the fire apparently indicate that it was caused by hunters who were in the protected wildlife area,” detailed SINAC.

Firefighters had to combat an arson fire. This was very challenging due to the irregular topography of the area, the wind, and the presence of several fire outbreaks, which required several kilometers of firebreaks and the management of secondary fire outbreaks.

This scenario presented an imminent risk of advancing towards the core of the National Park, affecting both secondary and primary forests, thus the damage to the ecosystem is invaluable. Despite efforts, fire control measures were unable to halt the advance of the fire, necessitating the declaration of a Level 3 Emergency and requiring support from personnel and various resources. Downpours in the area also contributed to extinguishing the forest fire.

According to authorities’ estimates, the affected area could span 90 hectares, although the possibility of it being larger is not ruled out.

“According to data from SINAC’s Forest Fire Program, 98% of forest fires are caused by humans, through activities such as agricultural burning, vandalism, carelessness, and environmental crimes. This pattern is reflected in Carara National Park, where fires are ignited by human actions,” stated Franz Tattembach Capra, Minister of Environment and Energy.

SINAC will file the respective report with the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) to carry out an evaluation to determine the origin of the fire and gather other evidence related to this incident.

“In the coming days, environmental authorities will conduct an assessment of the economic cost of the environmental damage caused by this arson attack,” mentioned Jeffry Hernandez, Regional Director of ACOPAC.

MINAE has implemented a Permanent Alert System due to the risk of forest fires in the country. This system aims to provide a timely and effective response to mitigate the impact on biodiversity, infrastructure, heritage sites, and the population, ultimately reducing the risk of forest fires.

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