Chile’s National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) issued red alerts (the highest on a three-tier scale) for portions of the regions of Araucanía, Los Ríos, and Los Lagos on Sunday, February 3, and Monday, February 4, due to ongoing wildfires. As of Tuesday, February 5, at least 22 notable wildfires were ongoing in the regions. In Araucanía region, the town of Cholchol has been particularly affected, with at least two fatalities reported and 12 destroyed homes. The communities of Valdivia, Mariquina, and La Unión in Los Ríos region are also under red alerts along with Futaleufú and Ancud in Los Lagos region.
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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