The residents of Valparaíso began this Thursday to remove the rubble of the 245 homes affected by the fire that broke out on the Christmas Eve afternoon in the peripheral hills of the coastal city, as confirmed by the Municipality of the homonymous region.
Debris accumulates on the sides of the streets of the Rocuant and San Roque hills, where the flames that originated in the nearby vegetation spread to the inhabited area.
The neighbors, loaded with shovels and spikes, sanitize the place waiting for a fleet of trucks to arrive to carry the remains of their homes and the ashes left by the flames.
So far, according to the latest report of the National Emergency Office (Onemi), the approximate area affected by the llamas is 149 hectares between the two foci, which are already controlled, although the red alert still applies in the area.
They also indicated that 1,715 customers still remain without electricity, although during the emergency on December 24, 90,000 were affected by the cuts in the supply.
For those affected by the fire, 2 shelters have been enabled in the coastal city, one for the families and another to collect the belongings that the neighbors were able to rescue before their homes were hit by the fire.
800 blankets, 400 mattresses, 288 personal hygiene kits were delivered, added from the Onemi.
Works in the area include 24 brigades (20 from the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf), 3 from the Army and 1 from the Navy) and 21 aircraft (10 helicopters, 5 tankers, 2 Conaf observation, 2 Onemi helicopters and 2 of the Chilean Wood Corporation (Corma)).
In addition, machinery was deployed and 9 units of the Valparaíso Volunteer Fire Department, Police and Investigation Police (PDI) units are currently working there.
Regarding the origin of the fire, the Chilean authorities suspect that it could have been intended, after a video circulated on the social networks of the alleged author entering the area where the fire began.
“If true, this would be very serious, the penalties for fire are very high and we will file complaints. The call is to be alert and report any behavior that is suspicious,” said Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel on the eve.
At the beginning of October the Government of Chile announced an investment of 120,000 million pesos (about 165 million dollars) in a plan for the prevention and control of forest fires that were expected with the arrival of summer in the context of the worst drought of the last 60 years in the country.
The Valparaíso region is the most critical area due to water scarcity and has been under a catastrophe zone decree for months.
In the last five years, Chile has registered an average of 6,511 fires per season that have affected an average area of 177,000 hectares.