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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Central Chile forest fires continue, claiming at least 64 lives


VIÑA DEL MAR, Chile — On Sunday, firefighters grappled with ​colossal forest fires that erupted in⁤ central Chile two⁣ days prior. The authorities have ‌extended curfews in the cities‍ most severely impacted by the infernos,​ reporting⁤ a⁢ death ​toll of at least 64 people.

The fires have been raging with unparalleled ferocity around the city of Viña ‌del Mar. ⁢The city’s renowned botanical garden, established in 1931, fell⁣ victim ⁣to the flames on Sunday, leaving⁢ at least⁤ 1,600​ people homeless.

Several districts‌ on the eastern⁢ fringe‍ of Viña del Mar have been consumed by⁤ fire and smoke, leaving some residents trapped ‍in their homes. Officials have ‌reported that around ​200‍ people ⁤are missing in Viña ‍del Mar and its⁤ surrounding ‍areas. The city, home to 300,000 people,‌ is a favored beach resort and is known for ​hosting a popular music⁢ festival ⁤during the summer ⁢in the southern⁢ hemisphere.

On Sunday, Rodrigo Mundaca, ‍the governor of the ‌Valparaiso ⁤region, expressed ​his suspicion that some ‍of the fires may have ‌been deliberately set, echoing a theory previously mentioned by President ⁤Gabriel Boric on‌ Saturday.

“The fires ignited at four⁢ separate locations simultaneously,” Mundaca stated. “As⁤ authorities, we are ⁣committed to conducting a thorough investigation to identify the ​culprits.”

The fires around Viña del Mar originated‌ in mountainous,​ forested areas ⁤that are difficult to access. Despite the best efforts of Chilean authorities, the fires⁣ have spread⁣ to ‌densely populated neighborhoods on the city’s ‍outskirts.

President Gabriel Boric, on Saturday, pointed‍ out that the unusually high temperatures, low ‍humidity, and high wind speeds were complicating efforts ⁢to⁤ contain the wildfires in‌ central Chile. These fires⁣ have already ravaged 8,000 hectares of forests‍ and urban areas.

Officials are urging⁣ residents in fire-affected areas to evacuate their homes as ‌swiftly as possible. Those living further away from the fires are being advised to stay indoors to allow for​ the unimpeded movement of fire engines and ambulances.

Curfews​ have been⁣ imposed in Viña del Mar, and the⁢ neighboring cities of Quilpé and Villa Alemana, as part ​of measures to deter looting.

The ⁣fires ​coincided with a week⁣ of record-breaking temperatures in central Chile. Over the past two⁣ months, the El Niño weather phenomenon has triggered droughts and high temperatures in western​ South America, thereby escalating the​ risk of forest fires.

Truth Media Network
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  1. Central Chile forest fires continue, claiming at least 64 lives.

    Disagree, this devastation calls for immediate action and support from the international community.


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