Peru wildfire threatens Machu Picchu

StarAvis Desk
StarAvis Desk
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Thirty-one firefighters normally based at Machu Picchu have been deployed to the northern areas worst affected by the fires. Photograph: Spaces Images/Getty Images/Blend Images

Twenty hectares near Inca ruins affected in blaze started by farmers burning grass before sowing crops

Peruvian firefighters were fighting to contain a forest fire near the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu as the blaze threatened to close in on the ancient city in the Andean mountains on Thursday.

The fire, which had engulfed an area about half the size of Vatican City, was started on Tuesday by farmers burning grass and debris to prepare to sow crops.

As of Wednesday, about 20 hectares (49 acres) had been affected by the fire, the mayor of the nearby city of Cusco said.

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The forest fire burning near Machu Picchu, Peru, as emergency personnel continued to fight the blaze that threatens the ancient Inca city. Photograph: Ministry of culture of Peru/Reuters

Machu Picchu, a complex of stone structures sitting atop a mountain, was built more than 500 years ago by the Incas, whose empire controlled large swaths of South America from what is today southern Ecuador to central Chile.

The fire’s remoteness has hindered firefighters’ efforts.

“We have already been fighting the forest fire for two days and it has not been possible to get it under control, given the area is quite inaccessible,” said Roberto Abarca, director of the Cusco risk management and security office.

The breathtaking ruins, which have made the surrounding Cusco region Peru’s top tourist destination, are considered one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Source: The Guardian

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