Since early this morning, some 5,000 firefighters, police, forest rangers, soldiers, sailors and civil defense workers have been fighting wildfires in the hilltop towns of Valparaiso, a picturesque port city in Chile.
According to news reports, an estimated 11,000 people are reported homeless and more than 2,500 homes destroyed. As of yesterday, the death toll has risen to 15. Another 700 or more people are on stand-by, ready to evacuate due to shifting winds that threaten the area. Flames, according to fire officials, first erupted in a forested ravine on the outskirts of Valparaiso. Flying embers have since quickly spread into the hills due to strong winds.
Fire officials have also reported that the fires have been so hot they have created their own fierce winds, spreading flames that have consumed a few neighborhoods. Elsewhere, homes stand untouched but remain in danger from still more flying embers.
The staff at NFPA knows that wildfire is not just a U.S. issue but a global one. That’s why we are committed to partnering and working with countries all around the world to share the lessons we’ve each learned, as well our resources and information, all in an effort to help build, together, safer, more fire adapted communities.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Valparaiso …