+44 1273 676712

Chile Wildfires - Updates

Several years of drought combined with an extended period of extreme heat and dry weather have helped to fuel wildfires which are now considered to be the worst in the history of Chile.

The historic wildfires that have prompted President Michelle Bachelet to declare 'state of emergency' last week, deploying troops and asking for international help, are mainly spread in central Chile (from Santiago to the Maule Valley).

With more than 900,000 acres of forests and agricultural lands (including vineyards) having burned since mid-January, more than 142 separate fires are still being recorded today.

Authorities have said that the worst is over though most wildfires are still out of control and unfortunately little relief is expected over the next days as hot and dry weather combined with gusty winds are expected through the weekend.

At least nine countries (Spain, France, Portugal, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, United States and Russia) have supplied some form of aid to Chile to help combat the fires, ranging from fire-fighters to aircraft and relief funds.

If you’re following the news on Social Media, be aware that many videos and photos of wildfires claiming to be happening now are actually much older. False statements are also being spread accusing people or forestry companies for the dramatic event. Know that investigations are still undergoing to determine who has been causing the fires and why (also note that not all the fires were criminal). Stay tuned! We’ll continue updating this article.

Update 02/02/2017

Currently we can report Chile has had major national and international support and progress in the battle to contain the forest fires that threaten various regions within the country.

In total 148 fires with 64 are now under control and 75 being combated at present. The death toll has not changed thankfully since the count of 11 (2 Fire fighters, 2 Police officers, 3 Brigade members and 4 Civilians).

Catastrophe zones at this point include the Provinces of Colchagua and Cardenal Caro in the region of O´Higgins, the regions of both El Maule, Biobio and La Araucania.

The Ministry of defense has announced a plan for the reconstruction of all houses destroyed and help to those citizens affected but the fires. Underway are 1.240 bonuses for those in need of assistance. Additionally internationally donations have been gratefully received.

Over 432 kms of fires barriers have been put in place and the distribution of aid elements are regularly being sent to the affected areas for the residents and help workers. At this point the status of the situation do not advise to participate in strenuous outdoor sports because of air conditions.

There may be the possibility of traffic restrictions in certain areas. We are regularly informed and of course we will advise you if there is any changes.

Update 06/02/2017

After over two weeks of devastating forest fires in central Chile, the government has ended the state of emergency, saying fires are mostly under control and no significant new fires have broken out. International help plus the arrival of rains and falling temperatures have helped stop the fires from spreading.

According to the latest official report, there are currently 36 active wildfires of which 28 are under control and 8 still raging.

The Chilean government said it will now begin reconstruction projects. Over half a million hectares have burned since July 2016 causing about £266 million worth of damage.

If you want to help Chilean wildfire victims, you can donate here.

Update 14/02/2017

International help has come to Chile from all over the world to put out the forest fires.

After 20 days, the Supertanker that was helping extinguish the forest fires has returned back to its base in Colorado United States. International rescue teams are returning home and were sent off with many people in the airport clapping to give thanks for the help as they departed.

There are 33 fires remaining under control and 10 are being currently combated according to CONAF (The National Forestall Corporation).

Different regions are still in recovery mode, burn zones are being evaluated and project plans are being made for ecological reconstruction of the damaged ecosystems. In combination, various institutions have come together, such as Intendencia Metropoliana, CONAF, MOP and the Committee of Emergency Operations to plan and implement new access roads for the upper areas affected by the Fires in Valparaiso.

Update 24/02/2017

The number of active wildfires in Chile has varied from week to week depending on the weather, but the drought-driven situation that has plagued Chile since December is still of great concern to the residents of the country.

International help has been very well appreciated and thanked, unfortunately the 747 Supertanker returned to the US on February 13 after being in Chile for three weeks. The Russian IL-76 is still there but is expected to depart on February 25.

Some are worrying that Viña del Mar Music Festival might hide the difficult situation that Chile is going through and ask the press to continue media coverage on the devastating fires. To date, there are still 27 fires burning of which 5 are out of control according to the national forest agency.

Get in touch   Subscribe to The Pothole

The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.

The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.

Share your story with us