Iconic monuments suffer damage following a wildfire produced by the volcano

Easter Island’s Rano Raraku volcano erupted on Monday, sparking a wildfire that swept through the Rano Raraku area and damaged the island’s iconic stone heads.

Rano Raraku is also known as the moai statue quarry, where around 400 stone heads are scattered. About half of the iconic statues — a popular draw for tourists — have been completed, while the rest never reached a finished state, according to a Easter Island travel website.

Some of the stone heads, which have stood for at least 500 years, possibly many more, may now be permanently damaged as the fire has burned approximately 250 acres of the quarry.

Easter Island’s iconic stone heads suffered permanent damage after a wildfire swept through the national park. (Municipality of Rapa Nui / AFP)

The isolated volcanic island of Polynesia is Chilean territory, although it is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and 2,200 miles from mainland Chile.

This national park was designated as a statue-making factory in 1935 because of the tufa rock found there, according to Chile. National Forestry Society website.

The blaze came just three months after the island reopened to tourism after two years of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fire has once again set back the island’s ability to generate tourism revenue.

“The damage caused by the fire cannot be repaired,” said Pedro Edmunds, the mayor of Easter Island.

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