Valparaiso and O’Higgins under red alert due to wildfires, Chile

Valparaiso and O'Higgins under red alert due to wildfires, Chile

Wildfires continue to wreak havoc across central Chile, particularly in Valparaiso, O’Higgins, and Santiago, with over 2 800 ha (1 739 acres) affected and several communities evacuated.

Since December 6, 2023, central Chile has been battling several wildfires, causing significant destruction and leading to population evacuations in affected areas, particularly in the Valparaiso, O’Higgins, and Santiago Metropolitan Regions. As of December 11, according to the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, and Attention (SENAPRED) and the National Forest Corporation (CONAF), four major wildfires remain active in these regions, having burned more than 2 800 ha (1 739 acres).

SENAPRED reports seven injured people in the Valparaiso Region. Media sources also report approximately 375 people have been evacuated, with one house destroyed and 19 others damaged in the same region. A red alert for wildfire activity remains in effect for some municipalities in the Valparaiso and O’Higgins regions.

Recent updates indicate that in the Valparaiso region, specifically in the communes of Villa Alemana and Limache in Marga Marga Province, the fires have burned approximately 500 ha (1 235 acres). As a result, at least 374 people have been evacuated from these communes​​.

The wildfires have also significantly impacted the commune of Limache, located 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Santiago. The area has seen more than 400 ha (990 acres) burned, 20 homes affected, and 300 people evacuated. Emergency teams, along with army personnel, have been deployed with the support of three helicopters and an air tanker to combat the fires​​.

The JRC Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) forecasts that over the next 24 hours, the fire danger in central Chile, including the already affected regions, ranges from high to extreme.

References:

1 Chile: Wildfires affecting parts of Valparaiso and O’Higgins regions as of early Dec. 10 – Crisis24 – December 10, 2023

2 300 people evacuated in Chile wildfires – AFP – December 10, 2023

3 Wildfires in Chile – DG Echo – December 11, 2023

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