Large forest fires are raging in northwestern Bolivia and are described by experts as the worst in the country since the extensive fires in 2019.

During the year, a total of three million hectares have burned and the country's president, Luis Arce, has appealed for international help. Firefighters from Venezuela, France, Chile and Brazil have been sent to the country to help.

Among those who are hard hit are the indigenous people, where indigenous firefighter Wilson Peter Huari Chau has been fighting the forest fires for two months.

Water miles away

But the locals who put out the fires have neither protective equipment nor medical assistance, and they have to walk several kilometers to fetch water to extinguish the fire.

"The animals of the forest have suffered a lot and that worries us the most. We are now here in the indigenous area of Bells Altura in Tacana where we are trying to put out the fires but it is almost impossible. We don't have backpacks, face masks, we basically have nothing," Chau told Reuters.

Without any equipment or professional help, 39-year-old Chau and his neighbors have been working against the fires in San Buenaventura in western La Paz.

"No one can tell us how our health will have been affected by this in three or four years. But we are here every day and suffer with the heat and flames because we love our land, the land, nature and the animals.

"Nothing Left"

The population cooks their own food, which usually consists of small lunches because they can't afford more.

"We have a small lunch in the afternoon, but we don't have much else. We don't get any service," Chau said.

Guillermo Medina, from Tumpasa in northern Bolivia, says that everything is destroyed.

"Crops, vegetation, cuttings, coffee plantations, citrus plantations, banana plantations, everything has burned down. Now we have nothing left. We've been demanding food for days because we have children and live on farming," he says.