Brazil’s Environment Ministry said on Thursday that 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 Federal Police are opening an investigation on possible criminal origin.
The ministry says on its website that nearly 650km2 acres of the 2500km2, 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, maned wolves, jaguars and toucans.
Park director Fernando Tatagiba said 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 said the fire started in an area that had been cleared of vegetation to prevent fires from spreading.
Voluntary vets from Minas Gerais have travelled to the park to help rescue injured wild animals.