Some of the famed stone heads of Easter Island have been damaged in a massive wildfire.
“The moai are totally charred,” Ariki Tepano, director of the indigenous Ma’u Henua community, said on social media, per the BBC. He called the damage to the sacred monuments “irreparable and with consequences beyond what your eyes can see.”
The island, known to its indigenous people as Rapa Nui and in Spanish as Isla de Pascua, is part of Chile. Carolina Perez, the Chilean cultural heritage undersecretary, said the fire ripped through nearly 250 acres where several hundred moai are located, according to RTE.
“The damage caused by the fire can’t be undone,” Pedro Edmunds Pao, mayor of Easter Island, told local media, according to AFP.
The cause of the fire isn’t known.
“The damage is incalculable because there is no recovery for the cracking of an original and emblematic stone, no matter how many millions of euros or dollars they put into it,” Edmunds Paoa told local Radio Bio Bio, China’s state-run Xinhua news reported.
Rapa Nui National Park is a protected World Heritage site with a history of human settlement dating back to approximately 300 AD, according to UNESCO. Most of the roughly 900 stone heads the island is known for were created between the 10th and 16th centuries.
It’s not clear how many were damaged in the blaze.
Local firefighters posted images on Facebook showing some of the damage.