- Title: Bolivia's battle with wildfires to get help from Russian firefighting plane
- Date: 30th August 2019
- Summary: SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA (AUGUST 29, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FIRES BURNING IN FOREST AREA
- Embargoed: 13th September 2019 23:21
- Keywords: President Evo Morales firefighting plane Russia Santa Cruz Bolivia wildfires
- Location: SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA
- City: SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Wildfires/Forest Fires
- Reuters ID: LVA005AUEVUX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL ORIGINALLY 4:3
After fighting wildfires firsthand, Bolivian President Evo Morales on Friday (August 30) announced that a Russian-made firefighting plane is headed to the country to help tame roaring blazes.
The blazes burn unabated across vast swaths of hilly tropical forest and savannah near Bolivia's border with Paraguay and Brazil. At least 1 million hectares, or approximately 3,800 square miles, have been impacted by the fires, officials said.
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.
Bolivia has contracted a Boeing 747 "Supertanker" from the United States to help with the fire-fighting, and has mobilised more than 2,000 firefighters, as well as small aircraft and helicopters. But the fires rage on.
Morales hopes the Russian plane will be just as effective as the "Supertanker".
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.
(Production: Santiago Limachi, Monica Machicao, Paul Vieira)
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