According to the city of Valparaiso’s Legal Medical Services, at least 122 persons have passed away as far as of Monday.
On the other hand, the Chilean National Disaster Prevention and Response Service (SENAPRED) has noted that 161 active fires are raging nationwide right now.
A state of emergency was declared by President Gabriel Boric when smoke smothered coastal communities including Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, claiming lives.
Central region residents were also compelled to leave their houses. Speaking at a news conference on Sunday following his tour of the devastated districts, Boric expressed concern that the death toll might “increase significantly.”
Boric, in a televised address last week said that the defence ministry would send additional military personnel to the impacted areas and would provide all required supplies.
He announced Monday (February 5) and Tuesday (February 6) to be national days of mourning in honour of the fire victims.
The fires triggered evacuations in several regions of central Chile. In February 2023, fires in the country swept through more than 400,000 hectares and killed more than 22 people.
Though this year’s fires have not spread as widely, Toha said they are “multiplying rapidly” and are spreading closer to urban areas, so the potential to affect more people and structures is “very high”, as per NBC News.
The fires broke out as Chile faces a heat wave that has affected other Latin American countries as well. Boric declared a state of emergency, and red alerts were issued for at-risk areas.