Saturday, September 25, 2021

Chile declares red alert as fires rage in Vina del Mar and Valparaiso

Firemen work to control a forest fire at the route 66’s access to Vina del Mar, Chile, 12 March 2017. According to reports, Chilean authorities declared a red alert for the cities of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso due to a forest fire that has consumed an area of land, covered with bushes and pasture, of about 250 hectares. EPA/RAUL ZAMORA

Santiago de Chile, Mar 12 (EFE).- Chilean authorities on Sunday declared a red alert for the cities of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso due to a wildfire that has so far destroyed 250 hectares of grassland and scrubland, leaving 284,000 people without electricity in eight municipalities.

The Mayor of Valparaiso Gabriel Aldoney announced on Sunday the suspension of school classes for this Monday in Vina del Mar as a measure to facilitate the access of emergency vehicles to the affected areas.

The blaze, which started on Sunday in Valparaiso, advanced towards the city of Vina del Mar and also reached the coastal towns of Algarrobo and El Quisco.

“The entire Fire Department of Vina del Mar is working with the forest team, as is that of Valparaiso. Seven units of National Forest Corporation (CONAF) brigade, four airplanes, four helicopters and two more are on the way.” Guillermo de la Maza, regional director of the National Office for Emergency (ONEMI) said.

Authorities are evaluating the possibility of evacuating some of the people living in the area, as they may be affected by the smoke.

As a result of the fire there was a massive power outage affecting 284,000 people in various parts of the municipalities of Valparaiso, Cartagena, Vina del Mar, Quilpue, Algarrobo, El Quisco, El Tabo and Casablanca.

Power will be restored once the smoke has subsided, according to representatives of the electricity company.