The voracious conflagration consumed more than 245 homes in Valparaíso
Forest fires in Chile. / Photo: EFE
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
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Leer en español: Lo que debe saber sobre los incendios de Chile
On Christmas Eve, Valparaíso was the epicenter of a voracious forest fire that forced hundreds of families to evacuate. The conflagration began on the hills of Rocuant and San Roque. According to France Presse, “the affected areas are one of the most populous and popular in Valparaíso, whose neighbors - who were preparing for Christmas night - faced fire with 550 firefighters from 54 units in seven cities in the region, supported for 14 civil and military forest brigades and, from the air, for four planes and 10 helicopters”.
Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker said that "investigations are being done and there is a high probability that this fire is intentional." A video circulates in social networks in which a person is seen climbing into a white van in one of the places where the fires started. However, Walker admitted that it will be difficult to prove guilt.
For his part, Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel explained that the government will file a complaint against those found guilty of causing the fire. The emergency manager of Valparaíso, Ezio Passadore, said "we still have no certainty, but everything indicates that yesterday's fire was intentional, and began in a sector quite close to the houses." At the moment there have been no human losses. According to the BBC, the fire left more than 245 homes destroyed.
President Sebastián Piñera, through his Twitter account, expressed his solidarity with the victims and announced the creation of a working group to begin the reconstruction and help affected people.
Toda nuestra solidaridad y apoyo a familias damnificadas por incendios en Valparaíso. Desplegamos todo para controlar incendios que se agravan con severa sequía y fuertes vientos. Además, ya constituimos grupo de trabajo para ayudar a víctimas e iniciar la reconstrucción.— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) 26 de diciembre de 2019
The tragedy adds to the social and economic crisis the southern country is facing today, and it occurs after a plane bound for Antarctica crashed with 38 passengers on board.