Chile’s forest fires claim 64 lives, threaten urban areas
A grave crisis is unfolding in central Chile as deadly forest fires have already claimed the lives of 64 people, and local authorities anticipate the death toll will rise further. Emergency services are locked in a fierce battle to contain the fires, which pose an imminent threat to urban areas, as reported by Reuters.
The Valparaiso region, housing nearly one million residents in central Chile, is shrouded in thick, black smoke as the wildfires continue to rage. Firefighters are employing helicopters and trucks in their relentless efforts to bring the inferno under control. Chilean authorities conveyed their concerns in a statement reported by Reuters, specifically about the dire situation around the coastal tourist city of Vina del Mar.
Rescue teams are facing substantial obstacles in reaching all affected areas. The death toll grimly increased with the discovery of five bodies on public roads. Interior Minister Carolina Toha anticipates that the numbers will surge further in the coming hours.
Toha emphasized the precarious situation in Valparaiso and likened the ongoing disaster to the country’s worst since the 2010 earthquake, which claimed around 500 lives. Chile routinely experiences wildfires during the summer months, and last year, a record-breaking heatwave led to the loss of 27 lives, with over 400,000 hectares (990,000 acres) of land affected.