Chile: 19 February 1999

Forest Fires in Chile 

7 February 2002

Modis Land Rapid Response System

click here to enlarge (114 KB)

 These images acquired by the Moderate-resolution
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 5 respectively 6 February 2002
are showing fires burning in Chile. For details see:
and image search support at:

Forest fires raged out of control in southern Chile Wednesday, ravaging prized native forests and nature reserves in what the government said was the worst disaster to hit the popular tourism zone in several years.
The blaze engulfed some 8 000 ha (19,700 acres) of forested land in the Andean foothills about 500 miles south of Santiago, forcing the evacuation of tourists and villages nearby. There were no injuries reported. The fires are burning in three state-protected nature reserves, favorite destinations for campers and tourists during Chile’s top vacation month of February. Officials expected it would take them at least another week to put out the fire, which they suspect was caused by negligence. “These fires are of a historic nature because we haven’t seen anything like this in forest reserves for a long time,” said Alejandro Blamey, director of the state forestry commission.  Dry winds and high temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere summer, reaching 93 degrees Fahrenheit, caused the fire to spread and hindered efforts to extinguish it, he said. “There are seven fires that worry us right now because they affect protected areas and are very difficult to control,” said Sergio Mendoza, the forestry commission’s fire chief. Television images showed billowing smoke rising from lush green mountains as helicopters dropped water on the blaze.  The affected parks — the Malleco National Park, Tolguaca National Park, and Conguillio National Park — are home to the araucaria, or monkey puzzle tree, and other hardwood species found only in Chile and considered very valuable, including lenga, coigue, and rauli.
Fire also ravaged parts of Chile’s famed Torres del Paine National Park farther south in Patagonia, which attracts visitors from around the world every year for its striking towerlike rock formations. That fire was under control, officials said.
Copyright 2002, Reuters
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For more information on the recent fire situation see: Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics 

Some Visual Impressions: 


For Background Information please see:

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