Categories
Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Thirteen dead as fires blaze through south-central Chile

2023-02-03T23:58:53Z

The Chilean government on Friday (February 3) declared the region of Biobio a “catastrophe”, alongside the neighboring region of Nuble.

Dozens of raging wildfires in Chile claimed at least thirteen lives and torched some 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres), authorities reported on Friday, as a summer heatwave sweeps across the southern hemisphere country.

Eleven people, including a firefighter, had died in the town of Santa Juana in Biobio, a region some 310 miles (500 km) south of capital Santiago, local authorities said.

The Minister of Agriculture also reported an emergency-support helicopter in the southern region of La Araucania had crashed, killing the pilot and a mechanic.

States of catastrophe have been declared in the farming and forest areas of Biobio and neighboring Nuble, prompting the deployment of soldiers and additional resources.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged while 39 fires rage across the country, Interior Minister Carolina Toha said.

“The conditions in the coming days are going to be risky,” Toha told journalists.

She said ground equipment and a fleet of 63 available planes were reinforcing the fire fight, with help from Brazil and Argentina expected.

President Gabriel Boric on Friday cut his summer vacation short and traveled to Nuble and Biobio, which together have a population of nearly 2 million people.

“My role as president today is to ensure that all resources will be available for the emergency and so that people feel that they are not going to be alone,” Boric said from Biobio.

He also pointed to “signs” that some fires may have been started intentionally.

Some families sought refuge in shelters, according to Chilean disaster agency Senapred. Fires disrupted traffic on highways, and numerous settlements have been evacuated.

Weather forecasts on Friday predicted temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in Nuble’s capital, Chillan, with strong winds that risked worsening fire conditions.

Related Galleries:

A firefighter works, as a wildfire burns parts of rural areas in Quillon, Chile, February 2, 2023 REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

Residents try to extinguish fire as a wildfire burns part of rural areas in Tome, Chile, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

A residence is seen on fire in Santa Juana, near Concepcion, Chile, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

A general view of a beach as a forest fire burns part of areas in Tome, Chile, February 3, 2023 REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

A local resident walks past as a wildfire in Santa Juana, near Concepcion, Chile, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

A firefighter works as wildfire burn part of rural areas in Tome, Chile, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

People visit the beach as a forest fire burns part of Tome, Chile, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

Firefighters work, as a wildfire burns parts of rural areas in Quillon, Chile, February 2, 2023 REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

A resident looks at the damage caused to his property, as a wildfire burned parts of rural areas in Quillon, Chile, February 2, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Firefighters work, as a wildfire burns parts of rural areas in Quillon, Chile, February 2, 2023 REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez

Firefighters work, as a wildfire burns parts of rural areas in Quillon, Chile, February 2, 2023 REUTERS/Juan Gonzalez
WP Radio
WP Radio
OFFLINE LIVE