Forest fires in Colombia send smoke plume over Bogota

The Colombian capital city of Bogota was covered in haze on Tuesday (February 2) as strong winds blew smoke and ash from forest fires into the city.

Firefighters using helicopters have been battling the flames for nearly two days in the Aguas Claras reserve located south of Bogota.

Aerial view of Bogota covered in smoke due to forest fire
Aerial view of Bogota covered in smoke due to forest fire. (Photo courtesy: Reuters/Photo grabbed from Reuters video)

Bogota Mayor Enrique Penaloso said the fire began at a military base.

“Unfortunately, despite the great work of the military, the fire department, the civil defence, the fire began in an army logistics school; an ammunition deposit even had to be protected,” he said.

Penaloso said the fires have spread and he’s seeking additional resources to battle them.

“Unfortunately, now the winds have made the fire spread on various fronts and, among them, it’s headed to the forest in Guadalupe to the north. So we’re seeing how to increase significantly the number of people working there,” he added.

Authorities issued a yellow alert and recommended residents wear masks as high temperatures, dry air and strong winds converged to fan the flames.

Officials advised parents to keep children at home and issued warnings about exercising outdoors.

According to Colombian media reports, 18 forest fires have been reported around Bogota over the past year. (Reuters)