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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 23:42 GMT 00:42 UK
Paraguay declares fire emergency
Aerial view of Paraguay fires
The fires are partly a result of the need for agricultural land
The government of Paraguay has declared a state of emergency after large fires destroyed more than 100,000 hectares of forest and agricultural land.

The country's President, Nicanor Duarte, issued the decree after the fires worsened in four provinces.

A Russian water tanker plane has been contracted by the Paraguayan government to help battle the fires.

The fires have been partly blamed on land-clearing and burning by subsistence farmers.

Mr Duarte, who has been criticized for reacting too slowly, said the state would pay to rent a Russian water-carrying aircraft that was used to fight devastating blazes that swept Greece in August.

"With this plane, we'll be stepping up the government's work in the northern zone," he told reporters.

Most of the fires were blamed on farmers deliberately setting small blazes to clear lands for cotton and soybean crop planting.

Country profile: Paraguay
13 Jul 07 |  Country profiles

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