Chile seeks neighbors’ help to battle wildfires

Chile seeks neighbors’ help to battle wildfires

13 February 2015

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Chile — The government of Chile on Friday requested international help to douse 63 wildfires that have already razed 4,981 hectares (12,310 acres).

Guillermo Maza, acting director of the National Emergencies Bureau, or Onemi, told reporters the government has requested assistance from neighboring Argentina to battle the fires.

“We expect that by tomorrow morning at the latest, we will have the participation of more aircraft, in particular turbine airplanes that can operate over more complex fires,” Maza said after a meeting of the National Committee for Emergency Operations.

Chile has also contacted Brazil to obtain additional help should it become necessary, the official said.

“The foreign and defense ministries have already taken steps to obtain a second-line operational reserve with resources from Brazil,” Maza said.

Sixteen of the 63 wildfires raging in four of Chile’s regions are expanding, according to Onemi.

The situation is most serious in the southern region of Bio Bio, where three active wildfires have burned more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres), though those blazes no longer threaten populated areas, Maza said.

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