Chile Forest Fires Claim More Than 112 Lives

'The death toll is expected to rise significantly in the coming hours.'

Chile Forest Fires Claim More Than 112 Lives

Chile's Valparaíso region is dealing with the aftermath of the country's deadliest forest fire on record, which claimed the lives of at least 112 people.

The inferno has prompted President Gabriel Boric to declare a state of emergency, promising to deploy all available resources to combat the impending disaster.

The victims, many of whom were holidaymakers drawn to the coastal region during the summer break, found themselves in the path of an unrelenting blaze.

A health warning has been issued in Valparaíso, resulting in the suspension of elective surgeries, the installation of temporary field hospitals, and the recruitment of medicine students to relieve demand on the healthcare system.

Rescue attempts have been hampered by officials' inability to access the most severely impacted communities. Interior Minister Carolina Tohá sadly warned that the death toll was likely to grow dramatically in the coming hours. The administration has issued an urgent warning against traveling to the fire-affected areas.

Rodrigo Pulgar, a 61-year-old local, characterized the situation at El Olivar as "hell." Pulgar described trying to save his neighbor but sadly discovering his own home on fire. With the bulk of El Olivar's people being old, Pulgar detailed the devastating death of his neighbor, who could not be saved in time.

According to the housing ministry, the raging flames have affected between 3,000 and 6,000 homes. A curfew has been implemented in Viña del Mar, Limache, Quilpué, and Villa Alemana to support emergency response efforts. President Boric highlighted that the curfew is intended to free roads for rescue vehicles and assist in reaching the impacted districts.

On Sunday, 1,400 firemen were deployed, with military forces aiding emergency services in their struggle against the fires. Investigations are ongoing to discover the cause of the devastating fire. In a precautionary step, the government has outlawed the use of fire-related equipment and heat-producing devices in Valparaíso and the surrounding Marga Marga district.