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Chile Wildfires Cause Mass Destruction and Death


At least 46 deaths have been reported as a result of multiple forest fires in Central and Southern Chile, which has put the South American nation in a state of emergency. In addition to announcing the action and stating that emergency services would convene on Saturday to evaluate the situation, President Gabriel Boric tweeted on X that "all forces are deployed in the fight against the forest fires.”

The El Nino weather phenomenon, which is causing a summer heatwave and dryness in southern South America, is the primary cause of the fire. Scientists have warned that the danger of natural disasters like fires and extreme heat has grown due to global warming.

The fires have been spreading fast and have destroyed acres of land in the central regions of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso since Friday causing the people to flee to a safer location. The mayor of the coastal city of Vina del Mar also said that more than two hundred people have been reported missing.

Carolina Toha, Chile’s interior minister, said that more than 92 forest fires have been reported since Saturday and the temperatures in the affected regions have been recorded as unusually high. She added that more than a thousand homes have also been destroyed and that since Friday, at least 8,000 hectares (19,770 acres) have burned due to two fires that were close to the cities of Quilpue and Villa Alemana.

In Chile, wildfires occur frequently during the summer. Over 400,000 hectares were burned by fires during the record heatwave of last year, which claimed the lives of 27 people. "The area with fires today is much smaller than last year [but] at this time the number of hectares affected is multiplying very rapidly," Toha stated.

Many blocks of residences and businesses in the hillside suburb of Villa Independencia on the eastern border of town were totally destroyed. The streets were littered with burned-out cars with shattered glass.

Rolando Fernández, one of the individuals who lost their house, remarked, "I've been here 32 years and never imagined this would happen." He claimed that Friday afternoon was when he first noticed the fire raging on a nearby hill. The region was engulfed in smoke and flames in fifteen minutes, and everyone had to flee for their lives. “I’ve worked my whole life, and now I’m left with nothing,” Fernández said.

Fires have destroyed about thirty homes in the communities of Estrella and Navidad, southwest of the capital, forcing residents to evacuate close to Pichilemu, a popular surfing destination.

Blackouts have been recorded by officials because of the fire. According to Tohá, three nursing homes and four hospitals in the Valparaíso area had to be evacuated. Two bus terminals were also destroyed by the fire.

In the next few days, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil might potentially be affected by the heatwave that is currently plaguing Chile and Colombia.



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