Wildfires tear across drought-stricken parts of Peru
Wildfires have torn through more than 22,000 hectares (54,363 acres) of forest, protected areas and farmland in drought-stricken parts of Peru as the Andean country suffers one of its driest periods in years, authorities said on Thursday.
Peru is experiencing one of its driest years in two decades, according to Peru's forest service Serfor.
In September, wildfires along the Ene River in a southern Amazonian region destroyed some 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) of rainforest.
Less rain due to climate change and last year's El Nino weather pattern have made the Amazon drier than usual, scientists have said.
In August, biologists and environmentalists from around the world warned the presidents of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia about the dangers of devastating fires in what they said might be the region's worst drought in at least half a century.
"One of the most worrisome signs of global climate change is an increase in the frequency of severe droughts in the Andean-Amazonian region," they said in an open letter delivered by the NGO Pronaturaleza. "Preventing a potentially extensive emergency is a million times preferable to having to confront it."