January 24, 2017
Lat -38.98° Lon -64.09°
A state of emergency has been declared in south-central Chile due to the worst forest fires that the region has experienced in decades. The fires began a week ago in the midst of a dry summer with record temperatures reaching 38°C. The Chilean National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry reports 32 active fires, affecting the O'Higgins, Maule and Biobío regions to the south of Chile's capital, Santiago. Three firefighters have died while combating the flames, 78 homes have been destroyed and hundreds of people have been evacuated. Almost four thousand people (among them firefighters, soldiers, emergency personnel and volunteers) have been working to control the fires and 29 are now under control. The government has requested international aid to cope with the large scale of the fires, with an estimated 100,000 hectares of forests already destroyed.