Feb 3, 2024, 11:56 AM

Chile declares state of emergency over raging forest fires

Chile declares state of emergency over raging forest fires

TEHRAN, Feb. 03 (MNA) – Chile has declared a state of emergency as it battles spreading forest fires in the center of the country that have so far killed at least 10 people.

“All forces are deployed in the fight against the forest fires,” President Gabriel Boric posted on X as he announced the measure, adding that emergency services would meet on Saturday to assess the situation.

The fires have ravaged thousands of hectares of forest since Friday, cloaking coastal cities in a dense fog of grey smoke and forcing people to flee their homes in the central regions of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.

At least 10 people have died, according to a state representative of Valparaiso, Al Jazeera reported.

“We have winds of close to 40 or 50km [25-31 miles] per hour,” said Leonardo Moder, the director of Valparaiso’s national forestry corporation.

“This wind is hard because it carries lit leaves, branches or pieces of wood, and each creates a new little fire that grows into more fires,” he added.

The blaze is being driven by a summer heatwave and drought affecting the southern part of South America caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon, as scientists warn that a warming planet has increased the risk of natural disasters such as intense heat and fires.

In the towns of Estrella and Navidad, southwest of the capital, the fires have burned nearly 30 homes and forced evacuations near the surfing resort of Pichilemu.

About 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) have already been burned in Valparaiso alone, according to CONAF, the Chilean national forest authority, which called the blazes “extreme”.


News ID 211614


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