Fires rage in Chilean Torres del Paine national park 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The father of an Israeli tourist suspected of starting a fire in Chile’s
Torres del Paine National Park told Army Radio Sunday that his son was
not involved in the incident.
RELATED:Wildfires rage in Chilean national park
Rotem Zinger, a 23-year-old from Ness Ziona, was arrested
and freed on bond pending trial, Juan Melendez, head prosecutor in the
region said Saturday. The blaze has consumed more than 11,000 hectares
"He doesn't understand where the accusations came from," Yahzikiel
Zinger said of his son during the interview. "He was very far from the
fire when it started and he had two days to run away if he really was
guilty, and he didn't feel that way."
"Rotem is confused, shocked and is hoping for the best," the father
added. "The police there [in Chile] evacuated a number of Israelis that
were within an hours radius of the fire."
Rotem's father went on to say that half a day later he spoke with his son, who said that there had been a big fire that was getting closer to
him and his friends. "They evacuated them, questioned them about what they saw and then released them," the father added.
AFP, however, quoted head prosecutor in the
region as saying that
Zinger had admitted that he failed to properly extinguish a roll of
toilet paper that he had set on fire in the park.
"The problem was that paper was set on fire in a park, and it was not
put out properly ... The penalty at the moment, for the infraction, is a
violation of forest law. It is a minor penalty," Melendez
Zinger, who was held briefly before being freed on bond, cannot leave
the country and faces 41-60 days in jail and fines of $80-300, AFP
quoted officials as saying.
Earlier, Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said
the fire had probably been caused by “negligent” tourists, and that the
government was considering legal action against those found
A window of milder weather will allow the Chilean government
to increase efforts to stop the fire raging through the main tourist
About 550 government and military personnel from Chile and
Argentina and several aircraft have been deployed, Hinzpeter said.
180,000-hectare park in Chile’s Patagonia region is famous for its vertical
granite peaks and is home to Andean condors, pumas and endangered Huemul
Gil Hoffman and Bloomberg contributed to this report