FIrefighters during a fire in Puren, in Chile's Araucania region. FIrefighters during a fire in Puren, in Chile's Araucania region.   (AFP or licensors)

Chile ravaged by wildfires

Wildfires devastate the Latin American country, and neighbours attempt to come to its aid.

By James Blears

Wildfires in Chile have killed twenty four people, injured more than a thousand, and left hundreds homeless.

Chile's President Gabriel Boric has declared a State of Emergency in the southern states of Biobio, Nuble and Araucania.

More than 260 wildfires, some of which started in tinder dry forests, have scorched a quarter of a million hectares, including farmland in rural regions and homes in residential areas.

Among the dead are motorists. The fires engulfed their vehicles on blazing roads.

The scorched earth spreads from central Chile but is mostly concentrated in the south. The principal cause is an ongoing heatwave. Temperatures recorded on the themometer have soared to a record 104 degrees,  or 40 celsius.

President Boric says: "I've seen the spirit of our people, and that will guide us during this difficult time." 

A coordinated international aid effort is underway to help tackle the fires and extinguish them. Help is coming from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Portugal and Spain. Expert firefighters joining those brave Chileans, who are already battling the fires, and a water plane, and, additional specialized equipment, are also on the way. 

There are prayers to God, earnestly hoping Mother Nature cools down, and for rain, as the global climate is radically changing forever.

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06 February 2023, 17:45