San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Conservation

Wildfire burns more than 1,200 hectares of mountainous areas west of San José

A wildfire that started Thursday has now destroyed an estimated of more than 1,200 hectares of the mountains of Turrubares, west of San José. This includes 300 hectares of protected lands, the Firefighters’ Corps reported.

Smoke columns throughout the weekend affected visibility for motorists traveling along various stretches of Route 27, the main highway connecting the capital, San José, and the Pacific province of Puntarenas.

Firefighters’ Corps operations director Luis Salas said in a news release that nearly 100 firefighters and volunteers managed to control some 75 percent of the fire on Sunday.

Salas said a decrease in the intensity of winds allowed them to control most of the fire.

On Sunday evening, they had already controlled most of the area; the blazes advanced towards Tárcoles River, where the wildfire died out.

Firefighters resumed work on Monday, looking for ongoing hotspots and beginning to inspect the area using drones.

Damage

The areas consumed were mostly pastureland and secondary forest. Large sections of the destroyed areas were habitats of various species such as raccoons, coatis, deers, tapirs, lowland pacas and turtles, among others.

National University’s Veterinary Hospital reported on its Facebook profile that it had received a number of felines, deers, monkeys and other animals with burns.

Turrubares is one of San José’s least populated cantons. Most of the region consists of five protected areas, some of which are also popular tourist destinations. The most important of these is the Carara National Park; other reserves in the region protect significant populations of red macaws.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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