Chile forest fires claim 112 lives in Valparaíso region

Chile forest fires claim 112 lives in Valparaíso region

Deadliest forest fires in Chile's history claim 112 lives in Valparaíso region. State of emergency declared, health alert issued and curfew implemented as authorities battle the blaze.


At least 112 people lost their lives in devastating forest fires, marking the deadliest such incident in the country's history in Chile’s Valparaíso region. President Gabriel Boric swiftly declared a state of emergency, pledging all necessary resources to combat the raging fires.

Many victims were visitors enjoying the summer holidays in the coastal region. The health ministry issued a health alert in Valparaíso prompting the suspension of elective surgeries and the setup of temporary field hospitals. To alleviate pressure on the health service, medicine students nearing graduation will be recruited.

Rescue efforts faced challenges reaching the worst-hit areas, with Interior Minister Carolina Tohá warning that the death toll could rise significantly. The government advised against traveling to the affected zones.
Residents recounted harrowing experiences, with one describing the situation in El Olivar as "hell." Rodrigo Pulgar shared his attempts to assist neighbors, realizing his own home was ablaze. The housing ministry reported that 3,000 to 6,000 houses were impacted.

A curfew was imposed in Viña del Mar, Limache, Quilpué, and Villa Alemana to facilitate emergency vehicle access. President Boric emphasized that the curfew aims to clear routes for rescue operations. Over 1,400 firefighters were deployed, with military personnel joining emergency services. The cause of the fires is under investigation.

To prevent further complications, the government banned the use of fire-related equipment in Valparaíso and the nearby Marga Marga region. The coastal town, a popular summer destination, remains a focal point for tourists, now grappling with the aftermath of the devastating fires.

Edited By: Krishna Medhi
Published On: Feb 05, 2024