24 people killed as Chile battles deadliest wildfires in country’s recent history

Streaming HUBFebruary 7, 2023

Chilean firefighters were battling to bring wildfires under control on Monday as officials said hot and dry weather would continue this week, potentially fueling what are already the deadliest blazes in the country’s recent history.

The fire, which has consumed 667,000 acres of land, has so far killed 24 people in south-central Chile, and is already set to be the second-highest in terms of hectares burned by 2023 in the country after the so-called “fire storm”. Made it a bad year. 2017.

The state’s National Forestry Corporation reported that as of Monday morning there were 275 active fires, 69 of which were currently being fought.

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President Gabriel Boric wrote on Twitter, “Unity to face tragedy, unity to rebuild ourselves.”

Chile is in the grip of a more than decade-long period of dry weather, which the World Meteorological Organization called a “mega drought” last year, was the longest in a thousand years and marked a major water crisis.

An area burns as a forest fire burns in Santa Juana, Chile, on February 5, 2023.

An area burns as a forest fire burns in Santa Juana, Chile, on February 5, 2023. (Javier Torres/AFP via Getty Images)

Fires spread rapidly during the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere due to heat waves and strong winds.

Between Sunday and Monday, aid arrived in Chile from Argentina, Spain and Mexico, while officials said they expected new aid from Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela.

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The fires have not affected the mining industry in the world’s top copper producer, with most mines located in the north of the country, but they have affected Chile’s agriculture and key forestry sector.

The Chili Wood Corporation, an industry association, told Reuters on Monday that its partners are currently focused on the emergency and have not yet made a preliminary assessment of the impact.

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