Fire Destroys Forests, Pastures in Southern Chile

Fire Destroys Forests, Pastures in Southern Chile

24 December 2013

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Chile — SANTIAGO – Chilean authorities declared a “red alert” in the southern town of Arauco, where a fire is burning out of control, has already consumed some 500 hectares (about 1,250 acres) of forest and pastureland and has forced the evacuation of about 100 people, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) announced Sunday.

The red alert allows the regional Onemi office to access more resources to combat the blaze which since Saturday has been affecting the zone located 1,200 kilometers (about 750 miles) south of Santiago.

The people who have had to leave their homes are being housed temporarily in a school in the Llico sector, while the National Forestry Corporation, or Conaf, the Carabineros, Chile’s militarized police, firefighters and government authorities are evaluating the situation to determine how best to contain the flames as they advance rapidly due to heavy winds.

The authorities are issuing a call to people who live in the rural area to leave their homes for safer areas until the fire can be extinguished or brought under control.

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