Almost 100 Dead As Fires Wreak Havoc

As of this past Friday, massive forest fires have broken out in central Chile, and firefighters are still battling them. A total of 112 people have been killed in the infernos, and curfews have been extended in the cities hit the worst.

A week of unprecedentedly high temperatures in central Chile was the catalyst for the outbreak of the flames. Droughts and high temperatures in western South America, brought on by the El Niño weather pattern, have increased the danger of forest fires over the last two months.

Residents have been stranded in their homes on the city’s eastern outskirts due to heat and smoke. According to officials, 200 individuals in Viña del Mar and the neighboring areas have been reported missing. The coastal vacation city has 300,000 residents.

The forensic medical agency in Chile revised the verified death toll late on Sunday to 112 individuals.

Drone footage shot in the Vina del Mar region showed entire neighborhoods engulfed in flames, with inhabitants searching among the rubble of collapsed corrugated iron roofs. There were charred automobiles all over the streets.

The governor of the Valparaíso district, Rodrigo Mundaca, reiterated on Sunday his belief that some of the fires could have been deliberately set, an idea brought up earlier in the day by President Gabriel Boric.

The flames that engulfed Viña del Mar started in inaccessible hilly and wooded regions. Even though the Chilean government has tried to contain the fires, they have spread into the city’s most heavily inhabited neighborhoods.

According to Boric’s Saturday statement, the central Chilean wildfires, which have consumed 8,000 hectares of forest and urban areas, remain out of control due to abnormally strong winds, low humidity, and exceptionally high temperatures.

The rapid evacuation of houses in the impacted regions is being urged by officials, who advise individuals farther away from the flames to remain indoors to allow fire engines and ambulances easier access.

The cities of Quilpué and Villa Alemana, along with Viña del Mar, have been ordered to implement curfews to curb looting.