Fire destroys more than a quarter of Brazilian national park

SAO PAULO — Brazil's Environment Ministry says arson may be the cause of a wildfire that has destroyed more than a quarter of a national park in the central state of Goias over the past two weeks.

The ministry says on its website that nearly 160,000 acres of the 595,000-acre Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park has burned. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to many orchid species as well as wildlife including armadillos, jaguars and toucans.

Park director Fernando Tatagiba says arson is the cause of nearly all fires in the region during the dry season and the spot where the fire began showed signs of "human action." He says the fire started in an area that had been cleared of vegetation to prevent fires from spreading.

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