Forest Fire in Torres del Paine

As one of the most recognizable natural landmarks in South America, Cuernos del Paine is a distinct mountain range located within the Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile’s Patagonia region. The stark contrast of the range’s dramatic elevation against the surrounding landscape is comparable to the Grand Tetons of the western United States.

Given the vast expanse of the park, and its popularity among rural enthusiasts, fires caused by tourists have been difficult to control in the past. The park, founded in 1959, covers an area 935 sq mi (nearly as large as Luxembourg, or the US State of Rhode Island).

In late December, of 2011, roughly 50 sq mi of the park were torched as a forest fire burned out of control. In 1985, just under 60 sq mi (equal to the territory covered by Washington DC) were reportedly ignited by a Japanese tourist.

According the the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, the fire has been brought under control, largely with the help Chilean firefighters, and volunteers in addition to favorable climatic conditions.

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