Forest Fires In Cuba Rattles Nations Economy
Vast forest fires have continued to blaze across the island nation of Cuba, bearing down toward the province of Santiago de Cuba, home to the country’s second largest city.
On Tuesday, the provincial government announced that a high-intensity fire had been contained near the municipalities of San Luis and Mella, the latter of which saw 250 citizens join efforts in the early hours of the morning to stem the flames.
Since January, officials in Cuba have counted an estimated 80 wildfires across the country, with firefighters, armed forces and park rangers struggling to control the burns. More than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) have been consumed across the island, with farms and coffee crops reportedly destroyed in the flames.
Officials on state television have said the fires are spreading across “a wide area, not just one focal point”. Some of the hardest-hit provinces include Pinar del Río and Artemisa to the west and Camagüey and Holguín to the east.
The fires had previously threatened Cuba’s Mensura-Piloto National Park, a sensitive ecological region comprised of 6,046 hectares (14,940 acres), known for its forested mountains and cascading waterfalls.