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Wildfires in central Chile kill more than 100 people

Residents evacuate on a motorcycle amid wildfires into Vina del Mar, Chile, Feb. 3, 2024. The Associated Press/Photo by Esteban Felix, File

Wildfires in central Chile kill more than 100 people

Chile on Monday began two days of national mourning after recent wildfires killed at least 122 people and destroyed thousands of homes in Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. Local officials on Monday said that hundreds of people were missing. High temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds made it difficult for emergency crews to fight the blazes, Chilean President Gabriel Boric said Saturday, and the fires had already burned more than 30 square miles of land.

How are officials responding to the fires? On Monday, firefighters continued battling more than 100 fires, and Chile’s investigative police force said it is investigating whether any of the fires were lit intentionally. The Chilean government sent military forces to the region to help fight fires, and local authorities instituted curfews in some cities to clear the way for emergency vehicles and to prevent looting. Boric on Friday declared a state of emergency in response to the fires.

Dig deeper: Read John Dawson’s report in WORLD Magazine about the record-breaking wildfires that recently finished burning through Canada.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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