Forest fire kills more than fifty people

SANTIAGO, CH – A deadly forest fire is currently wreaking havoc in Chile’s central region, with the death toll already reaching 51 and expected to rise, according to Saturday’s official reports. The fire is posing a major threat to populated areas, and emergency services are working tirelessly to control the blaze.

The Valparaiso region, a central area in Chile with nearly one million residents, is shrouded in thick, black smoke. Firefighters are battling the blaze from both the air and ground, utilizing helicopters and trucks to control the rapidly spreading fires.

The coastal city of Vina del Mar, known for its tourist appeal, is among the hardest hit. Rescue operations are facing challenges in reaching all the areas affected due to the severity of the fire. The death toll increased after five bodies were found on public roads. Interior Minister Carolina Toha has warned that the death count is likely to rise significantly in the coming hours.

Toha also emphasized the dire situation in Valparaiso, stating that the country is experiencing its worst disaster since the 2010 earthquake, which claimed about 500 lives.

In a televised address, President Gabriel Boric described the situation as “really very difficult.” Summer wildfires are a common occurrence in Chile. Last year, a record heat wave resulted in fires that killed 27 people and affected over 990,000 acres.

While the current fires are affecting a smaller area than last year, the number of hectares impacted is increasing at an alarming rate, Toha added. The greatest concern for authorities is the fires’ proximity to urban areas, which poses a significant threat to people’s lives and properties.