Forest fires in Bolivia continue to rage across the Pando, Beni, and Santa Cruz departments, having burned a total of 4.1 million hectares (10.1 million acres) as of Sunday, September 22. Environmental authorities declared a national emergency on Wednesday, September 4, and thousands of firefighters and forest staff have been fighting the fires over the past weeks, with little impact as the fires continue to spread uncontrolled. Some residents in areas near the fires have reportedly experienced respiratory problems as a result of smoke inhalation. The fires have also triggered blackouts and disrupted water distribution in some villages.
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.
Individuals in Pando, Beni, and Santa Cruz departments 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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