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Catastrophic forest fires claim over a hundred lives in Chile’s Valparaíso region


There are currently 161 active fires burning across the country, the Chilean National Disaster Prevention and Response Service (SENAPRED) said.

In a devastating turn of events, the Valparaíso region of Chile has become the scene of the country’s deadliest forest fire on record, with a death toll currently standing at least 112, according to official statements from local authorities. The fires, raging through the coastal region renowned for its scenic beauty and tourist appeal, have caused unprecedented damage, particularly as many were visiting during the summer holiday season.

President Gabriel Boric has declared a state of emergency in response to the crisis, committing to mobilize “all necessary resources” to combat the fires and mitigate their impact. The government’s response includes a health alert issued by the Ministry of Health, which has led to the suspension of elective surgeries and the establishment of temporary field hospitals to support the overwhelmed health services. Furthermore, medicine students nearing the end of their studies are being recruited to bolster medical teams facing increasing pressure.


(Photo: Chile Army)

The Interior Minister, Carolina Tohá, has warned that the death toll is expected to rise significantly in the immediate future, as rescue services endeavor to reach the hardest-hit areas. The government has advised against travel to the affected locales, where an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 homes have suffered damage due to the fires. To ensure public safety, a nighttime curfew has been enforced in several towns including Viña del Mar, Limache, Quilpué, and Villa Alemana.

Efforts to contain the fires and assist affected communities are intensifying, with around 1,400 firefighters set to be deployed. Military forces are operating in conjunction with emergency services to manage the situation and investigate the origins of the fires. In a bid to prevent further outbreaks, the handling of fire and heat-producing machinery has been prohibited in Valparaíso and the neighboring Marga Marga region.

Valparaíso, located just 116 kilometers from the capital Santiago, is a popular destination for tourists seeking its coastal charm. However, this tragic event has cast a shadow over the area, prompting a nationwide effort to support recovery and rebuild the lives of those impacted. The Chilean government’s proactive stance and the mobilization of resources across various sectors demonstrate a committed response to one of the most challenging natural disasters the country has faced in recent times.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.