Polls suggest Evo Morales may face a run-off vote after being blamed for devastating blazes
Heavy rains have all but extinguished the devastating wildfires that tore through the dry forests of eastern Bolivia for nearly two months. But, with national elections approaching, recriminations over the blazes have ratcheted up tensions in the already politically volatile region.
According to figures from the government of the Santa Cruz department, more than 4m hectares (9.9m acres) of forest and arable land an area almost the size of Switzerland have been ravaged by the fires.
A further 1.3m hectares were destroyed in the northern Beni department. Seven firefighters died and 10,000 families were forced to leave their homes.
Carmia Aguilera, a 40-year-old administrative worker, found herself on the frontline of the battle against the flames after she volunteered to provide food and supplies to affected communities.
I was born for it, she said, speaking by phone from Concepcin, 175 miles (280km) north of Santa Cruz, the regional capital. I didnt need any introduction, I simply put on the extinguisher backpack and start killing the fires. I went in four times, it felt good.
Aguilera says she had always wanted to be a firefighter but had been put off by the training and time constraints that come from being a mother of three. Following her literal baptism of fire, she became a certified forest firefighter on 25 September.
Thanks to the work of more than 1,000 volunteer firefighters such as Aguilera, rural populations can now start taking stock of the damage done.