Ecuador forest fires envelope Quito in smoke

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image copyrightAFP
image captionThe flames could be seen from downtown Quito

Quito was enveloped in smoke as forest fires raged around the Ecuadorean capital on Tuesday.

President Rafael Correa said he had contacted the Venezuelan authorities for help extinguishing 17 major fires across the country and that they had promised to send helicopters.

He said he would also ask Brazil, Colombia and Peru for support.

Ten people have been arrested on suspicion of setting fires in the vicinity of the capital.

The government has asked people to denounce firebugs and has offered a $50,000 (£32,500) reward for information leading to their capture.

One of the biggest fires is burning in the hills of Auqui, north-east of Quito.

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe wooded hills near Quito are the perfect fuel for the fires
image copyrightAFP
image captionThe fires are getting closed to residential areas
image copyrightAFP
image captionPeople in the worst affected areas got ready to leave in case the flames spread further

Dozens of firefighters are trying to stop the flames from spreading to residential areas.

Three firefighters were killed last week and many more injured.

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