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Today in Wildland Fire History: 1994 Galápagos Island blaze endangers sea turtles, burns 1200 hectares

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Today in Wildland Fire History: 1994 Galápagos Island blaze endangers sea turtles, burns 1200 hectares

On April 11, 1994, a forest fire ignited on Isabela Island, part of the Galápagos National Park of Ecuador. A long drought and scant firefighting resources allowed the wildfire to grow swiftly, endangering unique local flora and fauna such as theGalápagos Giant Tortoise. Because Isabela Island is 1000 km from the mainland, all firefighting and relief supplies had to come in by plane or boat, creating long delays. By April 19th, the blaze had reached 1200 hectares in size. Ecuador’s President declared a State of Emergency, and local authorities had to evacuate a colony of Giant Tortoises. With help from Canada and the United States, firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to Isabela Island’s northwestern coast and saved the Giant Tortoises.

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Heavy U.S. fire activity this week with 2,274 new ignitions reported

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Heavy U.S. fire activity this week with 2,274 new ignitions reported

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, reported on Friday that there were more than two thousand new fire ignitions around the country this week. Of the 2,274 fire starts, 86 rapidly grew into large fires. By week’s end, all but 18 of the wildfires had been contained. The remaining 18 large fires are burning in 8 states. Windy conditions and low humidity are forecast to persist for several days. NIFC’s Significant Fire Potential Outlook released at the end of March suggests higher than average potential for large fire starts in late spring and early summer.

Photo: Rachel C. Smith, All rights reserved

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