Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chile's 'most brutal fire in history' kills six

Chile's Ministry of Interior and Public Safety said at least six people have died in fires that have consumed nearly 1,000 square miles of forest.

The agency, known as ONEMI, on Thursday said there are 64 active fires, while 30 have been brought under control in the South American country's Coquimbo, Valparaíso, Maule, Bío Bío, La Araucanía, Los Lagos, O'Higgins, Metropolitana de Santiago, Magallanes, La Antártica Chilena and Los Ríos administrative divisions.

Two of those killed include members of the Carabiniers of Chile national police force. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who declared a state of emergency in the affected regions, expressed her "sincere condolences to the families" on Wednesday.

"Two new victims taken by the most brutal fire our history has ever recorded. What a sad day for our country!" Bachelet said in a statement. "Facing the devastating forest fires, only a unified Chile fits. In this emergency, we must face it with a generous spirit."

About 4,000 people, including Chilean troops, firefighters and volunteers, are working to douse the flames. Officials have deployed 46 airplanes and helicopters.

Firefighters from Colombia are arriving in Chile to assist on Thursday, while firefighters from Mexico will arrive Friday, ONEMI said.


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