The alarms went off in several cities of Chile for the multiple forest fires unleashed simultaneously during Friday night and that already caused at least 19 dead and more than 40 hectares devastated. The authorities decreed curfew in Viña del Mar and other cities tourist.
The uncontrolled fire largely affected the Valparaíso region, 100 kilometers east of Santiago. “The deceased appear to be in a sector of Villa Independencia, Achupallas, and there are 19, of which 15 were identified. Therefore, we recommend that relatives who have doubts about deceased persons contact the legal medical service,” he announced. at a press conference the Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá.
The minister also reported, 92 active fires and 43,000 hectares burned. AND expressed its concern because “the number of affected areas is multiplying very quickly, and the high potential to affect people, homes and facilities.”
The fire, which until this Saturday at noon was still not under control, destroyed thousands of homes in different towns in the region, where President Gabriel Boric decreed a curfew by catastrophe in order to mobilize the necessary resources to face the emergency. It applies to the communes of Viña del Mar, Limache, Quilpué and Villa Alemana.
Chile declared a state of emergency due to catastrophe on Friday due to the forest fires that are ravaging the center and south of the country, including tourist areas such as Viña del Mar in Valparaíso.
The priority is on the Valparaíso fires due to its proximity to urban areas. In that region there are several outbreaks, two of which are large-scale: one hits the Las Tablas Complex, with 6,800 hectares, and the other hits Lo Moscoso, in Quilpué, with 1,150 hectares.
All of these areas are between 80 and 120 kilometers northwest of Santiago, with wine, agricultural, and logging companies, and due to their proximity to the Pacific beaches, they have a large influx of tourists at this time of summer.
The official report indicated that they have 14 ships and five helicopters working in the Valparaíso area to combat the flames. Given the characteristics of the fire, it was indicated that the movement of the flames had the intensity of between 4 and up to 10 kilometers per hour.
Since Wednesday, temperatures reached 40 degrees in the central area of Chile, where Santiago is located, which increased the risk of fires.
The country has been suffering major forest fires since 2017, many of them in populated areas and in the Valparaíso region where a prolonged drought, rising temperatures, human negligence, unplanned construction and in unlicensed sites, created a perfect platform for these incidents.
Images of the fires in Chile
Destroyed homes in Quilpe, Viña del Mar. Photo: AFPA covered body lies in the street after a fire that affected the hills of Viña del Mar. Photo: AFPDestroyed homes in Quilpe, Viña del Mar. Photo: AFPAn aerial image of the hills of Viña del Mar. Photo: AFPA completely burned car in the Quilpe commune, Viña del Mar. Photo: AFPPresident Gabriel Boric flying over the fire zone in Viña del Mar. Photo: EFE