Over 4,000 hectares of woodland have been destroyed by wildfires in Sierra de Perija, in the Venezuelan state of Zulia, as a result of a prolonged drought, which specialists say is probably due to El Nino climate phenomenon.

El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every five years, but over a period which varies from three to seven years, and is therefore, widely and significantly, known as “quasi-periodic.”

ENSO is best-known for its association with floods, droughts and other weather disturbances in many regions of the world.

Local authorities also reported that various water sources are drying out in the Venezuelan bordering zone with Colombia, where wildfires have been raging over the last 10 days.

In Merida state, neighboring Zulia, local tourism authorities and security bodies have also reported wildfires in the surroundings of Chorros de Milla Park, where 15 hectares of woodland were devastated.

Due to the severe drought, President Hugo Chavez decreed a power emergency on Monday, as the water resources are in critical situation, chiefly El Guri reservoir, the biggest in the country.

According to authorities, this is the worst drought in the last 100 years and there are no guarantees that rains will start in May.