World

Raging forest fires kill at least 19 in Chile; toll expected to rise

2024.02.03 12:36

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© Reuters. Smoke from wildfires blankets the sky in Vina Del Mar, Chile February 2, 2024. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

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(Reuters) – At least 19 folks had been killed by forest fires in the coastal vacationer metropolis of Vina del Mar and the demise toll may rise in the approaching hours as rescue groups attain extra affected areas, Interior Minister Carolina Toha mentioned on Saturday.

Black smoke billowed into the sky over many elements of the Valparaiso area, dwelling to practically a million inhabitants in central Chile, whereas firefighters utilizing helicopters and vehicles struggled to quell the flames in the world.

Throughout the nation there have been 92 lively fires, leaving greater than 43,000 hectares affected by the incident, Interior Minister Toha mentioned.

“The report of fatalities is very provisional,” Toha mentioned. “We have reports from other places where there are indications that there may be more people dead but we do not have confirmation on the ground.”

Wildfires aren’t unusual in Chile over summer season months and final yr, on the again of a report warmth wave, some 27 folks died and greater than 400,000 hectares had been affected.

“The area with fires today is much smaller than last year (but) at this time the number of hectares affected is multiplying very rapidly,” Toha mentioned.

Between Friday and Saturday the hectares impacted by the wildfires elevated from 30,000 to 43,000.

Toha mentioned that the authorities’ best concern was that among the lively fires had been growing very shut to city areas “with the very high potential to affect people, homes and facilities”.

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