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Forest fires in Uruguay showed rural controversy

Uruguay, incendios, forestales

Forest fires in Uruguay showed rural controversy

Montevideo, Jan 5 (Prensa Latina) Widespread forest fires in Uruguay that have not been extinguished yet on Wednesday showed the asimetric relations between pulp and paper industry tycoons and local rural producers.
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Considered the major fire in the history of the country, it has destroyed over 22,000 hectares and put locals at risk because some forests on fire were 50 meters away from villages.

However, with the expansion of lands exploited by multinationals, a law by the Department of Environment from the Ministry of Housing of the previous Broad Front administration that stipulated a 500-meter distancing was not complied with.

This new ministry was created by the current coalition in office, and Minister Adrian Peña, when visiting the areas scorched by the fire, promised to order forest enterprises to comply with this overlooked law.

Accompanied by the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture,and Fisheries, Fernando Matto, Peña listened to many complaints from local people who have lost the means and products of their families’ livelihoods and have been left in debt.

Mattos acknowledged that “companies have a duty” and assured that the government will work on prevention and seek to solve pressing problems, such as the lack of wire fences, food and water for animals.

“What we have is scorched earth, uneasiness, uncertainty, anxiety,” an El Pais daily reporter wrote, because “there are many lands in the area, leased by forest enterprises to livestock farmers such as beekeepers and which were 90 percent destroyed.”

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