2012 Sets New Forest Fire Record

In 2012, the country experienced the worst wildfire season in the last five years. From January to April, the fire consumed 34,287 hectares, 24,789 hectares more than in 2011.

The amount of land burned is equivalent to almost 500 times the Parque Metropolitano La Sabana.

This was announced by the National Wildland Fire (CONIFOR), an agency of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).

According to Luis Diego Roman, coordinator CONIFOR, a total of 105 forest fires were attended. Of these, 81 were in protected wildlife areas like national parks and reserves, while 24 were in private farms.

Barra Honda National Parks (Nicoya), Santa Rosa (La Cruz de Guanacaste) and Chirripo were most affected, but also the Reserve of Barbudal Lomas (Bagaces), the Refuge Caño Black (Los Chiles), Tivives (Esparza) and wetland Corral de Piedra (Nicoya).

96% of forest fires occurred in the Pacific coast. Most were in the North Pacific (75%), followed by the central Pacific (12%) and the South Pacific (9%).

This coincides with predictions of the Report on water risk from climate change, prepared by the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which analyzes data from the past 40 years regarding climate threats , pointing to the Pacific as an area susceptible to extreme events like droughts.

The threat of climate change, joins the action of man. Over 80% of fires were caused by burning agricultural and pastures, vandalism, poaching and revenge.

“The main cause of the increase is still lack of knowledge and stupidity of people making fires, vandalism and other actions that are out of the hands and can not be controlled,” said Ana Lorena Guevara yesterday, Minister of Environment.

Due to these fires, Costa Rica issued 402,417 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and in total, 2,775 people helped fight the fire.

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