Emergency message from U.S. State Department: Forest fires in South of Chile

Emergency message from U.S. State Department: Forest fires in South of Chile

10 January 2012

published by http://ilovechile.cl

Chile / USA — The State Department alerts U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Chile of ongoing forest fires in several regions across the country. The regions of most concern include the 12th Region Magallanes, location of the Torres del Paine National Park, the 7th Region Maule, and the 8th Region Bio Bio. January is the peak of the austral summer tourist season, and parts of the affected areas are known for outdoor sports and adventure tourism. January is also the summer dry season in Chile, with conditions that increase the risk of fire throughout the country.

This Travel Alert updates the alert issued on December 30, 2011, and expires on January 31, 2012.

Chilean authorities have been battling serious forest fires in the Torres del Paine National Park since late December 2011. The Park was closed completely on December 30, 2011 due to the danger presented by the fires. The Chilean government reopened portions of the park on January 4, 2012, including some hotels and camping sites. More recently, fires have broken out in other regions. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the Park or any other affected region and to follow the instructions of local officials. Because of the unpredictable nature of these events, travelers should visit the official website of the Chilean National Tourist Service at http://www.sernatur.cl/ or send an email to infomagallanes@sernatur.cl, for up-to-date information. The Chilean Federal Emergency Management Agency (ONEMI) also publishes frequent updates on conditions related to forest fires at www.onemi.cl.

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Chile are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to contact you in case of an emergency. The American Citizen Services Unit is located in the U.S. Embassy at Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago, and can be reached by calling 56-2-330-3000, or by e-mailing santiagoamcit@state.gov.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.

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