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Argentina fire chief sacked over Patagonia blaze

  • 3-1-2015

The head of Argentina's national fire control agency has been sacked as a huge forest fire threatens to engulf a renowned national park in Patagonia.

Jorge Barrionuevo was sacked during a visit to the region by the government chief of staff.

The fire is advancing towards Los Alerces National Park, which is home to larch trees dating back more than 1,000 years.

The flames have already destroyed 200sq km (77 sq miles) of forest.

Government chief of staff Anibal Fernandez said Mr Barrionuevo's work had been "unsatisfactory".

The fire is believed to have been started by a lightning strike more than a week ago.

Hundreds of rescue workers have since been fighting the flames, but officials now say they hope rain expected on Monday may help control the situation.

Local government officials say it may take hundreds of years for the damaged forests to grow back. 

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC

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