A fire in the Santa Elena section of the Parque Nacional Santa Rosa has burned 400 hectares and is spreading in three directions, said the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones, which controls the protected area. That area is nearly 1,000 acres.
The bulk of the area is second growth that has been there for about 10 years, said the Área de Conservación Guanacaste. The terrain is uneven and fire crews have been unable to bring in heavy equipment.
As is the usual method of attack, crews are building fire breaks around the blaze, but they are forced to use hand tools, like machetes and shovels, as well as chain saws. Some 80 persons are on the fire line, including volunteers. Some 30 more persons were expected to join the fight this morning. Crews are from San Dimas, Las Brisas, Santa Cecilia and La Garita.
Officials said they still do not know the cause of the blaze, although they said they suspect that the blaze was set intentionally. There have been a series of fires in national parks and preserves. Sometimes the cause is an unattended campfire by poachers.