The National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) issued red and yellow alerts, the two highest of three levels, for areas in central Chile due to ongoing destructive forest fires as of Thursday, January 3. Around 14 wildfires are burning in the regions of Biobío and Valparaíso. ONEMI issued a red alert at 14:27 (local time) on Thursday for Villa Alemana and Limache (Valparaíso region) after a fire destroyed roughly 60 homes. Red alerts are also in effect for Valparaíso, Casablanca, Puchuncaví, and Nogales (Valparaíso region). A yellow alert is in effect for portions of Biobío region. Additional fires in O'Higgins region have been contained, according to ONEMI. Further fires are likely in the coming days and weeks in central and central-south Chile.
Forest fires are common in Chile during the summer months. The country was devastated by a string of major forest fires in January 2017, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people, as well as the destruction of around 1500 houses and over 580,000 hectares (1.4 million acres).
Individuals in the Chile, particularly in the abovementioned regions, are advised to adhere to instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. fire bans, evacuation notices), keep abreast of the situation and of local weather reports, and establish safety plans in case of an evacuation notice.
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