Firefighters battling to contain wildfire near Machu Picchu

Firefighters are battling to contain a forest fire near the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

The blaze started close to Llamakancham, part of the Machu Picchu archaeological park in the Cusco region of southern Peru, Ernesto Escalante Valencia, head of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, told Peruvian news agency Andina.

The fire started on Monday and its remoteness and the ruggedness of the terrain has hindered firefighters’ efforts, according to Roberto Abarca, director of the Cusco risk management and security office.

A general view of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is seen in Cusco, Peru, in this December 2, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Files

Machu Picchu is regarded as one of the new seven wonders of the world

It was started by farmers burning grass and debris to prepare to sow crops, according to Reuters news agency.

As of Wednesday, about 49 acres had been affected by the blaze, the mayor of the nearby city of Cusco said.

The ancient city of Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site high in the Andes mountains.

The mysterious Inca citadel, built in the 1400s, is made up of three primary structures: Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows.

The sacred Inca ruins, which have made the surrounding Cusco region the top tourist destination in Peru, are considered one of the new seven wonders of the world.

The site is visited by more than a million people each year.

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