Due to a spreading fire, the Chilean Civil Protection Agency (SENAPRED) has ordered the evacuation of Patagual, Los Cruceros, San Ricardo, and Quetra in the municipality of Coronel, Concepción province (Bíobío region in southern Chile).
The fire is out of control and threatens inhabited rural areas in the region.
“Behave calmly and follow the instructions of the authorities and emergency forces,” the authority announced in a message on Twitter.
The regional director of the National Forestry Agency (CONAF), Rodrigo Jara, said that 17 fires are currently being fought in the Bíobío region.
“In some sectors of the region, the large amount of smoke at low altitudes makes it difficult to use aircraft. We call on all residents to take extreme precautions, protect themselves, and avoid behaviors that could trigger a forest fire,” Jara said, according to Radio Biobío.
An Italian team of experts arrived Monday (20) in the Araucanía region of southern Chile to investigate the cause of the fires that have been ravaging the country for more than two weeks and have claimed 25 lives and burned more than 400,000 hectares.
A group of disaster experts from the Italian Carabinieri have already visited different areas in Ñuble and Biobío, two of the regions most affected by the disasters.
The European officials will be deployed in La Araucanía “and in certain sectors where there have been fires in the region, to find out how these fires started and to collaborate with those in charge of the investigation,” Montalva explained.
Over the weekend, the Chilean government warned that fires had flared up again in the Biobío region and expressed “concern” as flames moved toward populated areas.
The executive branch said that about 25% of the fires registered so far in 2023 were started intentionally.
This is according to data provided by the Minister of Interior, Carolina Tohá, based on assessments by the National Forestry Agency (Conaf), which has investigated 600 fires so far in 2023.
In the past two weeks, more than 7,000 people have been affected by the disaster, which is described as one of the worst forest fire disasters in the South American country.
So far, more than 430,000 hectares have been consumed by flames, including 200,000 hectares in the Biobío region in the south of the country.