Home Devastating wildfires sweep across Central and Southern Chile

Devastating wildfires sweep across Central and Southern Chile

devastating wildfires sweep across central and southern chile

Local authorities report that numerous individuals have lost their lives in wildfires in Central and Southern Chile on Sunday, February 4.

Several fires have erupted in the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar in the South American country. Approximately 10 individuals have lost their lives in the fires, which have extended into residential areas.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric declared a state of emergency.”We have directed all our crews to the central and southern regions of the country to intervene in the fires,” he posted on X.

Alvaro Hormazabal, the director of the National Disaster Prevention and Response Service, reported that there are currently 161 active fires throughout the country. A botanical garden established in 1931 in Vina del Mar has been nearly eradicated by the flames.

In response to the crisis, authorities have advised thousands of residents to evacuate, imposed curfews in severely affected cities to facilitate emergency vehicle access, and allowed routes to affected areas. Disturbing visuals of entire neighborhoods devastated by the fires, including numerous burnt cars, are being widely shared on social media.

Over 200 individuals have been declared missing in Vina del Mar and its vicinity, a popular coastal destination for tourists during the summer holidays.

President Gabriel Boric cautioned that the number of casualties may increase, as significant fires continue to rage in Valparaiso. Firefighters are encountering challenges in reaching densely populated areas that have been consumed by extensive flames.

Following a visit to the impacted areas, Boric announced a two-day national mourning period for the victims of the fires.

The president noted that strong winds are posing challenges for firefighters in managing the wildfires, which have scorched approximately 8,000 hectares (19,768 acres) of both forested and urban areas.

These fires coincide with the South American country experiencing record-high temperatures, attributed to an El Niño weather pattern. This pattern has resulted in elevated temperatures and sparked forest fires in various Latin American nations, including Colombia, Ecuador, and Argentina.

The flames have rapidly advanced toward the cities of Concon, Quintero, and Maitencillo. It’s worth noting that in February 2023, Chile witnessed forest fires that resulted in the loss of at least 13 lives.


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