Hundreds of firefighters and emergency personnel have been deployed into Santa Cruz department to contain forest fires in the region, which have burned over 460,000 hectares (1,136,684 acres) of land as of Tuesday, August 20. According to the Secretary of Public Safety, there are 12 active fires that are affecting the municipalities of San Rafael, Roboré, Charagua, San Ignacio de Velasco, Concepción, San Matías, and San José de Chiquitos. A state of disaster has been declared in the department, allowing additional resources, aid, and personnel to be sent to Santa Cruz to fight the blazes. The largest fires are impacting Roboré and San Ignacio de Velasco. Additional medical personnel have been sent to the area to assist in treating smoke-related respiratory problems from the fire. Officials are concerned that the fire in Roboré may cross the border into Paraguay as it continues to move south, aided by strong winds and a lack of rain. As of Monday, August 19, the Roboré fire is 70 percent contained.
Transportation and business disruptions are possible in the areas affected by the fires. Evacuation orders are not currently in effect but may be issued if the blazes continue to spread, particularly near Roboré.
Individuals in Santa Cruz department are advised to monitor developments, exercise caution when traveling in areas near wildfires, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders).
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