Chile coordinates greater efforts to combat forest fires in the central zone of the country

SANTIAGO, Dec 12 (Reuters) – The Chilean government is coordinating greater resources to control the progress of several active fires in the central zone of the country that have consumed more than 3,500 hectares and put neighboring residential areas at risk, authorities reported.

The accidents currently keep the central regions of Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O’Higgins and Maule on red alert, where 11 active fires are being fought and six have already been controlled, according to data from the state-owned National Forestry Corporation (Conaf).

“We have arranged all the resources to fight the forest fires that affect the central zone of Chile,” President Gabriel Boric said on Twitter on Sunday night.

“Our main concern is the safety of the people affected, who are being treated, and the extinction of the sources of fires that are still active,” he added.

The Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, participated during the night in a meeting with the emergency agencies to verify the progress of the extinction work and the threats of new events.

“We have had residential sectors that are threatened by fire and in many of those places, despite the fact that there have been all the indicators of a risk situation, there has been resistance to following the guidelines so that the houses are vacated,” said the official.

The municipality of Melipilla, some 60 kilometers southwest of the capital, suspended classes due to the fires and set up shelters for people affected by the fires.

Forest fires are common around the southern summer season where high temperatures, added to strong winds, serve for the rapid spread of fire.

This season there are already 44 fires throughout the country, according to official data. (Reporting by Fabián Andrés Cambero)

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