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.
Fires have ripped through at least a million hectares in Bolivia.
As the country prepares to go to the polls, 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. Morales did an about-face on Sunday and said he was now open to international aid to fight the blazes.
Morales’ government had been slow to accept the aid, initially saying it would use its own resources to fight the fires, but pleas from villagers and officials of Santa Cruz province led to an about-face. Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Chile and Spain have all offered support.
Bolivia late last week contracted a Boeing 747 “Supertanker” from the United States to help with the firefighting, and has mobilized more than 2,000 firefighters, as well as small aircraft and helicopters, but still could not cope with the intensity of the fires.
Thousands of wildfires are also decimating the neighbouring Brazilian Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. The blazes have nearly doubled this year compared with the same period in 2018, prompting global outrage.