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Fire in Itatiaia Park is under control, but there are still risks

The fire in the Itatiaia National Park, in the south of the state of Rio de Janeiro, is under control, but not yet extinguished, the management of the conservation unit reported this Tuesday (18). The fire reached 200 hectares.

“The risk is still high. We will continue to carry out monitoring operations and respond to hot spots where they exist, but the situation has improved a lot”, said the park manager, Felipe Mendonça.

73 fighters continue to operate at the site, including agents from Ibama, Icmbio, the Fire Department and Army soldiers. The operation also includes two helicopters and water trucks.

Firefighting work is made difficult because it occurs in areas above 2500 meters in altitude. Furthermore, low temperatures also increase the challenge for firefighters. This Tuesday, the region recorded the lowest temperature in the country: – 11⁰C.

The fire in the Itatiaia National Park started last Friday (14), on the day the conservation unit turned 87 years old. Itatiaia is the country’s first National Park. see the video of controlled fire.

As CNN showed, the fire started in an area where cadets from the Agulhas Negras Military Academy (Aman) were doing mountaineering training. An examination, after the work is completed, will clarify the causes of the incident, which has already affected approximately 200 hectares of the conservation unit.

In a statement, Aman clarified that, after the end of an exercise carried out in the Itatiaia National Park, military personnel identified a fire at the site and began fighting the fire. In the statement, the Army states that “due to the strong winds and dry vegetation, the fire spread, making it impossible to contain.”

“The vehicles that participated in the exercise were removed from the site, for safety and ongoing reasons, the Aman instructors informed the PNI management of the start of the event. Since then, uninterrupted support has been mobilized for the Park, with specialized personnel, Army Aviation aircraft and logistical support, which will remain until the work is completed”, informed Aman.

The fire started in an area called Morro do Couto and close to the entrance to the upper part of the park. It is a region of high-altitude fields, above 2,500 meters in altitude and with very dry vegetation due to lack of rain.

The first national park in Brazil is home to Pico das Agulhas Negras, the fifth highest in Brazil, at 2,790.94 meters, according to IBGE. Located on the border between Rio and Minas, the highest point in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and the third in the territory of Minas Gerais.

Large fires in the Itatiaia National Park

  • 1963: 4 thousand hectares, 35 days of fire, biggest fire in history
  • 1988: 3,100 hectares (server disappeared)
  • 2001: more than 1 thousand hectares, caused by two tourists who got lost and built a fire
  • 2007: more than 1 thousand hectares
  • 2010: 1,200 hectares

Source: CNN Brasil

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