Colombian Government Says Oil Fires are Under Control

The Colombian Government says that three of the five oil wells set on fire in June by leftist rebels in southern Putumayo province have been put out.

Cudd Well Control was called into battle the fires. The Quinde, Quillacinga and Quiricinga wells have been suffocated. The government expects the remaining Pinuna and Coembi wells to be brought under control this week.

Frank Kanayet, the president of Petrotesting S.A., which partially owns the wells, said that 60 people have been working round-the-clock to put out the fires in the dangerous, rebel-ridden region. Kanayet added that the wells were being controlled thanks to machines capable of inundating them with 2,000 gallons of water a minute. Technicians are only expected to use dynamite in " extreme cases" because of potential environmental damage. Petrotesting and its partners are losing 5,000 barrels of oil a day due to the fires.

Minister of Environment, Housing and Public Lands Cecilia Rodriguez commented that the damages "escape the imagination," citing the main impact as intense air pollution. The fires have been burning since June.