Large wildfire near Quito is mostly contained

Oct 2, 2018

The fire was visible Sunday night in the Atacazo hills south of Quito. (El Comercio)

Authorities say that a large wildfire south of Quito has been mostly contained although some “hotspots” remain. So far, the fire in the Atacazo hills has burned 668 hectares, or about 1,650 acres, covering nearby neighborhoods in smoke and ash.

Volunteers look for hot spots in burned-out grassland.

On Monday, 200 firefighters and volunteers worked throughout the day and into the night to extinguish flames, some of which reignited after being put out. The national risk management office says containment is difficult due to the high altitude of the area, most of which is above 3,500 meters, and steep terrain. The region is mostly grassland, although it contains some pine forest.

“We continue our work to put out the fire and hope to have it fully contained on Tuesday or Wednesday,” a spokesman for risk managements said. “We are fortunate that there have been no serious injuries thanks to the remoteness of the burn area.”

He added that several families have been evacuated but that some people have returned in an attempt to save farm animals. Nearby residents report seeing hundreds of rabbits, foxes, skunks and other wild animals running down mountains to escape the flames.

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Risk management officials say that army helicopters equipped with thermographic cameras are flying over the affected area identifying flare-ups and coordinating the work of firefighters.

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