Combustion caused by Rano Raraku, a nearby volcano, began last Monday and destroyed more than 100 hectares of the island's surface, damaging its famous stone statues known as “Moai”. Their creators — native Polynesians — lived here more than 500 years ago.
According to representatives of the managing organization of the Rapa Nui Natural Park, the damage may be irreparable, and the real consequences have yet to be assessed, since “the eyes can not see everything.”
Rapa Nui National Park, whose name comes from the name of the island, is a protected area and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island itself is located 3,500 km off the coast of Chile and is the most remote inhabited island on the planet. First of all, because of the giant monuments of Moai, it is exceptionally popular with travelers from all over the world.   ; ;
Officers from Chile's National Board of Monuments are on site assessing the fire damage to the island's sacred stone figures. Exposure to high temperatures can adversely affect the integrity of Maoi, carved from solid basalt.
The island's national park, which has 386 Moai, is currently closed to tourists.
Experts assure that there have been no such natural disasters in this region before. Perhaps only the human factor could seriously harm the unique sculptures. So, two years ago, a local resident was arrested after his truck crashed into one of the stone figures and broke the ahu — the platform on which it stood.
For a long time, researchers puzzled over why the huge statues were installed in this particular place? According to the main version, the settlers found underwater sources of fresh water here.