Colombia declares red alert due to excessive heat

Bogota, Dec 28 (IANS) Colombia has declared a red alert in 20 provinces after high temperatures caused wildfires in different regions, the media reported on Monday.

Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam) warned of the high probability of forest fires taking place because of high temperatures caused by the El Nino phenomenon, EFE news reported.

“Threat of occurrence and spread of forest fires,” Ideam tweeted with a map of the Colombia showing 20 of its 32 provinces marked “Red Alert”.

The provinces under alert are Caldas, Antioquia, Huila, Cauca, Cesar, Sucre, Boyaca, Norte de Santander, Quindio, Bolivar, Risaralda, Tolima, Santander, Nariño, La Guajira, Atlantico, Valle del Cauca, Cordoba, Magdalena and Cundinamarca.

Cundinamarca province, with Bogota as its capital, has been among the worst-affected by fires during the last few days; however rescue teams have indicated most of the blazes are the work of criminals.

According to the National Risk and Disaster Management Unit on Sunday, a total of 15 forest fires have been reported from Boyaca, Cundinamarca and Antioqia provinces.

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