SANTIAGO – Fifty six soldiers sent from Spain to Chile to help fight forest fires arrived in the city of Concepcion and are expected to start assisting firefighting efforts on Sunday in the region of BioBio, a Spanish military spokesman told EFE.
Spanish military personnel met with regional officials to evaluate the situation and decide where to start the operation to put out the blazes, Lt. Aurelio Soto said.
“We have discussed incredibly important information that is essential for operating teams to know before fighting the fire,” Soto told EFE.
The Spanish military personnel are from the Military Emergencies Unit (UME) and are experts in fighting forest fires.
“We have experience fighting forest fires in Spain. Every year, we work actively with the regional governments in fighting fires when they consider it necessary,” Soto said.
The blazes in Chile have burned more than 400,000 hectares (987,654 acres) of forest, Chilean National Forestry Service (CONAF) BioBio region chief Alberto Bordeu said.
The Spanish military unit will help by relieving CONAF firefighters and other personnel, Bordeu said.
“All our firefighting personnel are already committed and have been working for a week,” the CONAF official said.