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Chile: Wild Fires - Nov 2016

Disaster types
Wild Fire

Wild fires started in the central provinces of the country in November 2016 (ONEMI, 8 Nov 2016). By mid-December, 49 wild fires were recorded across the regions of O’Higgins, Maule, Biobío, Valparaíso, y Metropolitana (Gov't of Chile, 16 Dec 2016).

Beginning on 15 January 2017, forest fires ravaged the regions of region Metropolitana, Valparaiso, O´Higgins and Maule, significantly impacting rural sectors and some urban areas. Currently, only a few isolated fires remain. Chile’s president instructed the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security to declare a Constitutional State of Exception and a State of Catastrophe in the provinces of Colchagua and Cardenal Caro in the O'Higgins region, as well as in the regions of Maule and BioBío. Likewise, a Constitutional State of Exception was put in place for Valparaíso in the Valparaíso region. To date, the death toll stands at 11 (three CONAF brigade members, two police officers, two firefighters and three civilians). Livelihoods (agriculture and livestock) were increasingly impacted as the forest fires became urban fires, affecting structures and forcing people to be evacuated, displaced and housed in collective centres (IFRC, 10 May 2017).

As of May 2017, the Chilean government continues to make progress in the reconstruction process repairing public infrastructure and replacing homes for the hundreds of families affected by the fires. The reconstruction progress can be monitored at (Gov't of Chile, 12 May 2017).