Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Wildfires Threaten Patagonia Nature Reserve

16 March, 2003 - 00:00 -- World Land Trust
Wildfire sweeping across the steppe in  WLT's Patagonia Nature Reserve

Fire heading towards the ranch. See larger image. (Use your back button to return here.)

The Ranch if Hopes (Estancia La Esperanza) is a 15,000 acre Patagonian Nature Reserve funded by the World Land Trust (WLT) and owned by the Fundación Patagonia Natural, WLT's partner organisation in Patagonia. The reserve was recently threatened by wildfires sweeping across the dry steppes as summer draws to a close in the southern hemisphere: a small area on the south western border was ablaze, and dozens of volunteers had turned out to try and beat it back.

The World Land Trust received a dramatic email from José Maria, director of Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN). These photos were all taken by José Maria.

On Friday 14th February lightning strikes started 5 fires around Puerto Madryn city. One of the fires was less than 20km away from the ranch. By nightfall the fire had reached the edge of the reserve, burning about 2% of the land, but luckily 25 mm of rain then fell, extinguishing the fire.

View  from the Nature Reserve buildings with the fire in the distance

View of the fire from the ranch buildings. See larger image. (Use your back button to return here.)

No animals appear to have been lost to the fire, and the majority of the reserve escaped unscathed. One chulengo was injured, but was able to be returned to the wild the following day. The keep ranger, volunteers, and FPN staff, carried out some outstanding work during the fire, staying in a nervous watchfulness for 72 hours.

Volunteers surrounded by  bushes reduced to charcoal by the wildfire

FPN volunteers inspect the aftermath. See larger image. (Use your back button to return here.)

The Ranch of Hopes Patagonian Nature Reserve is the WLT's newest project. The ranch was purchased in 2001 and is home to a variety of rare and spectacular animals. Our project pages contain more information about the Patagonian Nature Reserve.

You can read more about the fire in WLT's press release, Wildfires threaten Patagonia Nature Reserve and in an article following up the event, Animals large and small rescued after Patagonia fire.

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