President Evo Morales Joins Firefighters to Battle Wildfires in Bolivia

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales joined firefighters in Santa Rosa, Tuesday, August 27, to help crews put out wildfires, as the country struggles to contain blazes across Bolivia. The blazes are burning across vast swaths of hilly tropical forest and savannahs 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. 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.

Bolivian president Evo Morales announced the he is suspending his campaign for re-election to tackle the wildfires raging in the Bolivian Amazon at a news conference in Cochabamba on Sunday.

“We will all dedicate ourselves to taking care of the entire Chuiquitania [region affected by wildfires], the entire Bolivian Amazon. And I am asking municipal mayors, authorities, union leaders to give notice in advance. These fires will continue to appear. There has been more than two months without rain throughout the Amazon. And where there is drought there are fires,” said Morales.

He also welcomed international aid and called for a meeting of regional leaders to discuss a joint strategy of battling the wildfires. A record number of fires have been raging through the Amazon rainforest most of which is located in Brazil but which also stretches into Bolivia and several other countries.