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International support brigades to fight forest fires come from nations such as Mexico, Colombia and Spain. The fire has so far devastated more than 200,000 hectares of land. The fire forces are currently fighting about 84 intense active sources of the 311 reported nationwide. The official death toll was corrected from 26 to 24.
Chile continues to battle against the forest fires that have affected several areas in the center and south of the Latin American nation. The high temperatures, the drought that the country is experiencing, among other causes under investigation, have caused a complex situation since the beginning of February.
The Chilean authorities asked the international community for help to stop the flames and the response was almost immediate. Forces from Spain and Mexico are already deployed in the affected territories. The support was mainly focused on the central region of BioBío, the zero point of the fires.
Mexico sent some 150 men and this Wednesday a similar number arrived as reinforcements. The day before, the Mexican ambassador in Chile, Alicia Bárcenas, exchanged with the first group of brigade members and provided details of the work of her compatriots.
Bárcenas stressed that they will take care of places that are difficult to access “where the helicopter, the planes, cannot arrive.”
For its part, the detachment of the National Emergency Unit of the Spanish Armed Forces was located in Las Toscas, in the Yumbel commune, one of the areas most affected by an active and uncontrolled outbreak since last Thursday. A good part of the total deaths in this event have been reported there.
The colonel in charge of the group, Javier Martín, explained the particularities of his work. He pointed out that they will not “be able to work in the same conditions” that they work in Spain because it was not possible for them to bring their own vehicles. “It is a long distance and it would be very difficult to be able to bring them in and we are going to work in a very light configuration, with a manual tool”, he affirmed.
Another group of Colombian experts is also working on the ground, supporting the efforts to put an end to the flames. The brigade is made up of about 20 workers, added to the delivery of retardant liquid.
Among other countries, Venezuela and Brazil also contributed to the fight. The first sent some 60 specialized firefighters, while the South American giant provided a plane along with a group of specialists.
consequences of the crisis
Local media such as ‘Biobiochile’ point out that the number of victims fell from 26 to 24, a figure that is handled according to the “scientifically proven” deaths. The Chilean Minister of the Interior and Security, Carolina Tohá, explained that the two cases withdrawn were a mistake.
Some 293,000 hectares of land have been devastated. At least 1,180 destroyed homes are reported, as well as 5,569 victims and 889 people transferred to shelters.
Nationwide there are about 311 fires. Despite the fact that some 180 are already under control, the concern of the authorities is noted given the high temperatures that are forecast until Friday, a factor that can “create a complex situation” favorable for combustion, according to the Chilean deputy interior minister. , Manuel Monsalve.
This caused an alert to be activated in the Metropolitan regions, which includes the country’s capital, and O’Higgings. Currently, 84 intense active foci are being fought.
Investigations into the start of the fire are advancing
Monsalve also stressed that some 17 people have been arrested for an alleged relationship with the start of the fire. Actions such as burning wool or clothing are among the possible causes of study as the genesis of the conflagration.
This coincides with a heat wave without similar records in the southern zone of Chile. The high temperatures caused by the meteorological event can reach up to 40 degrees.
The seriousness of the situation meant that the president, Gabriel Boric, had to interrupt his vacation to supervise the efforts to combat the flames.
With Reuters, EFE and local media
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