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Chile_01

Chile_01

Torres del Paine: Welcome to beautiful Patagonia. This was the first day of an eight-day, 67-mile backpacking trip through Torres del Paine. In the middle foreground are the charred remnants of a fire started in February 2005 by the camp stove of a Czech backpacker. The fire burned 54 square miles (about one-eighth of the park’s total area) before Argentine-led firefighters stopped it; the Chilean army, which spends billions on fighter planes, somehow wasn’t able to send its sole tanker plane to fight the blaze. The hapless Czech paid a $200 fine and was allowed to leave Chile; his government eventually paid $200,000 for restoration work.

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