SANTIAGO – Chilean authorities declared on Sunday a red alert for the cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso due to a wildfire that has so far destroyed 250 hectares of grassland and scrubland, leaving 284,000 people without electricity in eight municipalities.
The Mayor of Valparaiso, Gabriel Aldoney, announced on Sunday the suspension of school classes for this Monday in Viña del Mar as a measure to facilitate the access of emergency vehicles to the affected areas.
The blaze, which started on Sunday in Valparaiso, advanced towards the city of Viña del Mar and also reached the coastal towns of Algarrobo and El Quisco.
“The entire Fire Department of Viña del Mar is working with the forest team, as is that of Valparaiso. Seven units of National Forest Corporation (CONAF) brigade, four airplanes, four helicopters and two more are on the way,” said Guillermo de la Maza, regional director of the National Office for Emergency (ONEMI).
Authorities are evaluating the possibility of evacuating some of the people living in the area, as they may be affected by the smoke.
As a result of the fire, there was a massive power outage affecting 284,000 people in various parts of the municipalities of Valparaiso, Cartagena, Viña del Mar, Quilpue, Algarrobo, El Quisco, El Tabo and Casablanca.
Power will be restored once the smoke has subsided, according to representatives of the electricity company.