Guatemala Provides Air Support to Costa Rica to Put Out Forest Fire

By Dialogo
March 06, 2012

The Guatemalan Air Force will provide a helicopter to help combat the fire that has been affecting Costa Rica’s Chirripó National Park for the last week and has consumed 150 hectares of valuable forest, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) announced on March 4.

The helicopter will serve to drop loads of water from the air and to transport personnel working on containing the fire on the ground, among other logistical aspects, the CNE explained.

The Costa Rican government requested the help of friendly countries in combating the fire in this national park, located in the Southern Pacific region, following a week of efforts that proved insufficient to halt the advance of the flames.

At the moment, “the fire is sustained, and work is now prioritizing control and liquidation,” for which the Guatemalan air support will be decisive, the CNE indicated.

Chirripó National Park, in the Talamanca mountain range, is the home of the peak of the same name, the country’s highest at 3,820 meters.

The area, protected by law, contains a variety of climate environments, from the highland ecosystem at the mountain’s peak to the humid tropical forest on its lower slopes, with valuable plant and animal species that run the risk of devastation.

Given the absence of rain and the force of the winds, forest fires have increased in Costa Rica in the last three months, reaching a “historical record” of 27, according to matching figures from the CNE and the Corps of Firefighters.

Nevertheless, the fire in Chirripó National Park is the year’s most extensive and destructive.