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News > Chile

Death Toll From Fires in Chile Increases to 112

  • Chileans collect debris caused by a fire, Feb. 4, 2024.

    Chileans collect debris caused by a fire, Feb. 4, 2024. | Photo: X/ @JC_Jerez

Published 5 February 2024

So far, authorities have recorded 165 active wildfires in this South American country.

On Sunday night, Deputy Interior Secretary Manuel Monsalve announced that the number of fatalities in the devastating fires ravaging the Valparaiso region has increased to 112.


Chile: Emergency State and 22 Dead Due Forest Fires

Following a meeting of the Disaster Risk Management Committee (COGRID), he said that there would be almost 40,000 people affected by the destruction of homes. According to preliminary projections, the fires have destroyed some 12,122 homes in Viña del Mar and 2,700 dwellings in Quilpue.

"This is the biggest tragedy we have experienced since the earthquake of February 27, 2010," Chilean President Gabriel Boric stated.

The authorities believe that the extinguishing of the fires will be facilitated in the coming hours due to a favorable change in weather conditions.

"We will no longer have extreme conditions. Temperatures will remain high but not extremely high and we will have cloudiness in the mornings, which is favorable for controlling the fire," explained Monsalve.

The Boric administration decided to advance the curfew to 6:00 PM local time in the areas that have not yet been evacuated in the towns of Quilpue, Villa Alemana, Limache, and Viña del Mar. This measure aims at facilitating rescue efforts and clearing evacuation routes.

Due to the simultaneity of the fires and their origin, authorities believe that several fires could have been intentional.

"It is difficult to think that there could be such miserable and soulless individuals capable of causing so much death and pain. However, if those people exist, we will look for them and will find them. They will have to face not only the repudiation of society as a whole but also the full weight of the law," said Boric, who declared two days of national mourning starting Monday.

So far, authorities have recorded 165 active wildfires, 11 more than on Saturday. Forty forest fires are still being fought, 112 are under control, and four are extinguished.

While there are fires of lesser intensity in practically all regions of the central and southern parts of the country, alarms were raised on Sunday afternoon due to a forest fire in the Galvarino commune, in the La Araucania region, which has so far burned 10 hectares.

"There is an impact on agricultural land, but there is no impact on houses at the moment. Firefighting is taking place in various parts of Chile. No place will be left unprotected," Monsalve vowed.


Gabriel Boric
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