Created in 1961, Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park has become a well known national park in Brazil, welcoming around 60,000 people annually. However it is now closed to visitors starting October 10, due to the beginning of the biggest fire in the history to ever occur at the park.
The park, famous for its diversity, contains various species – pampas deer, jaguars, giant armadillos – that also face near extinction. It is also home to one of the most threatened waterfowl in the world, the Brazilian merganser duck. While the reason behind what started the fire is still unclear, Brazil’s Environmental Ministry believes arson may be the case. Park director Fernando Tatagiba also explains how the fire occurred in an area cleared of vegetation, in order to prevent fire from spreading in general, meaning that it might have started “deliberately”.
Lasting over a week, the fire continued to spread despite the help of firefighters on sight and volunteers to control the wildfire. The situation was still unable to be tamed and put down. The fire continued to rage and has consumed more than a quarter of the national park. Brazil’s Environmental Ministry states “nearly 160,000 acres of the 595,000 acre has burned” since it started on October 10. Almost a week later, on October 28, still unable to control the fire, hundreds of men and woman joined firefighters in order to help control the fire. The fire has still not been able to be put out but is expected to be extinguished within the next two or three days.