On Thursday, Peruvian firefighters were trying to contain a forest fire near Machu Picchu, which threatened to close in on the Incan ruins.
It was started on Tuesday by farmers burning grass and debris to prepare to sow the season’s crops, which engulfed an area roughly half the size of Vatican City. According to the mayor of Cusco, about 20 hectares (49 acres) of land had been burned as of Wednesday.
An ancient complex of stone structures, Machu Picchu stands at the summit of a mountain, built by the Incas, whose empire controlled large segments of South America.
Firefighters have been hampered by the fire’s remote location. Cusco’s risk management and security office director Roberto Abarca said that, despite fighting the forest fire for two days, it has not been possible to control it.
Among the new seven wonders of the world, the breathtaking ruins have made Cusco the most popular tourist destination in Peru.