On Thursday, a forest fire that was threatening to engulf the historic city high in the Andes was being fought by Peruvian firefighters close to the Machu Picchu Incan ruins.
Farmers burned grass and other waste on Tuesday to get ready to plant fresh crops, which caused the fire, which by Wednesday had spread to an area almost half the size of Vatican City.
According to the mayor of the nearby city of Cusco, as of Wednesday, the fire has burned through around 20 hectares (49 acres).
The Incas, whose empire ruled over wide portions of South America from what is now southern Ecuador to central Chile, created the complex of stone buildings known as Machu Picchu more than 500 years ago.
Firefighters’ operations have been hampered by the fire’s distance.
According to Roberto Abarca, head of the Cusco risk management and security office, “we have already been battling the forest fire for two days and it has not been possible to get it under control considering the area is relatively inaccessible.”
One of the new seven wonders of the world, the stunning ruins have made the area around Cusco, Peru, the top tourist attraction.