The Government of Chile declared a fire alert in the metropolitan region and foresees a “very complex” situation
The authorities anticipated that high temperatures are expected for the next few days, which could worsen a spread that seems to be relentless
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The Government of Chile issued an alert for fires in the metropolitan region and foresees a “very complex” situation (REUTERS)
The Government of Chile ordered this Tuesday the alert due to the fires in the metropolitan region of the capital and the central regions of Maule and O'Higgins since high temperatures are expected for the next few days. This could not only unleash new outbreaks of fire, but would also make the work being carried out in the south, one of the areas most devastated by fire, even more difficult . There, even, it is believed to be the most devastating episode in decades.
“It was instructed to prepare all the equipment in the event and the need to have to fight fires that may arise and all prevention resources are activated to strengthen firewalls and security,” the Undersecretary of the Interior told the media, Manuel Monsalve.
High temperatures are forecast until Friday and range from Valparaíso -in the center of the country- to La Araucanía -600 kilometers south of Santiago-. Likewise, it is expected that they will exceed 35 degrees Celsius in the Maule and Ñuble regions, located 300 and 400 kilometers south of the Chilean capital, respectively.
The alert for high temperatures is in force until Friday and more than 35 degrees are expected (EFE)
The authorities described this situation as “very complex” that more than 290,000 hectares has already been consumed, leaving a balance of 26 people. In addition to this, the Minister of Health, Ximena Aguilera, referred to the deterioration of air quality as a result of the smoke that was released from the fires. He pointed out that this problem was registered both in Santiago and in areas to the south and warned about the harmful effects that this can have on people.
This wave of fires is one of the most fatal that the country has registered and make the current season the second worst in terms of burned hectares after the so-called “firestorm” that hit the largest copper producer in 2017. On that occasion, the flames calcined more than 500,000 hectares and left a dozen deaths.
The fires broke out late last week in Ñuble, Maule, Biobío and La Araucanía, all regions located in the center-south of the country. According to Monsalve, there are 169 outbreaks that are under control while there are 81 fires that are still being fought and continue to devastate homes and the victims, which already exceeds 3,500.
There are still 81 outbreaks that have not been controlled (EFE)
The strong winds and the intense drought that have affected the country for more than a decade have caused the rapid spread of the flames, which is why, this Tuesday, the column of fires reached the Chilean capital and covered its sky.
At the same time, the first shipment of international aid landed in the country. Thus, Chile received a American fire-fighting plane Ten Tanker, one of the largest in the world, and the brigadistas of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) of the Spanish Army. In the next few hours, meanwhile, the contribution of Colombia and Mexico is expected, which will reinforce these assistances.
Until At the moment, the undersecretary assured that 15 people have been arrested suspected of being responsible for starting these fires. 14 of them are accused of negligence in activities they were carrying out -such as burning clothes or welding metal-, while the last one is still being investigated by the Public Ministry.
( With information from EFE and Reuters)