A fire that has destroyed over 247,000 acres (100,000 hectares) of tropical forest continued to burn out of control Tuesday, close to the border with Brazil in the Bolivian Amazon.
But calm weather in the last two days helped to significantly slow the spread of the blaze, rescue worker Alvaro Lucia said Tuesday. More than 300 soldiers, rescue workers and local residents are battling the fire, which broke out some two weeks ago. Around 500 people were evacuated from the area but no deaths have been reported, local government official Hector Vaca Lazo said.
The blaze is centered 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the city of Riberalta, which is some 520 miles (850 kilometers) northeast of Bolivia's capital, La Paz. The government plans to declare a state of emergency in the area, officials said. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined though farmers often burn forested areas in the dry season for growing crops. These fires have often got out of control in past years, AP reports.