The sky glows orange as wildfires rage across
© Nir Ekdesman
The sky glows orange as wildfires rage across Golondrinas, Chubut province in Argentina, March 9.
At least seven people were injured and 15 more missing on Wednesday as forest fires ripped through Patagonia, official sources said.

Some 200 people had to be evacuated and around 100 homes were damaged by fire in an area of forests and lakes popular with tourists close to the Andes mountain range. Locations affected by the flames include Lago Puelo, El Bolsón, El Maitén, Epuyén, Futaleufú and El Hoyo.

"I'm going to file a criminal complaint because it was an intentional fire," said Environment Minister Juan Cabandié at a press conference.

President Alberto Fernández wrote on Twitter that the national government had "sent two helicopters, three fire hydrant planes, 12 fire engines, support vehicles and 62" firefighters to tackle the blaze.

Seven people were injured, one seriously, and 200 evacuated from Lago Puelo in Chubut Province, the local municipality said.

"There are 15 people missing due to the fire that... affected more than 100 homes," said Cabandié.

In nearby El Hoyo "the rains were so intense that they put out the fire," village spokesman Alejandro Otero told AFP, although he warned that the embers were being monitored.

"It's a fire that began within the forest where there are the extreme conditions for it to expand," said Augusto Sánchez, the mayor of Lago Puelo.

Last year tens of thousands of hectares of forest were destroyed in fires in Argentina.

In 95 percent of those cases, the fires were started by people and in some cases caused huge damage to farmland and buildings, the government said.

Source: AFP