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Catastrophe in Chile: three-day wildfire claims hundreds of lives, destroys whole communities

The fires in Chile raged for three days before efforts to contain it were successful, scorching nearly 45,000 hectares of land and claiming lives and property.

  • 4 weeks ago
  • April 25, 2024
5 min read
Apartment buildings scorched during the wildfires in Chile. | Photo courtesy of Jaime Andrés Olivos Apartment buildings scorched during the wildfires in Chile. | Photo courtesy of Jaime Andrés Olivos
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VALPARAISO, Chile — In early February of 2024, a devastating wildfire swept through Chile, taking lives and destroying homes. This gallery captures the tragic aftermath. Ignited on the second of the month, the fire defied the efforts of 30 brigades and over 1,000 volunteers. It raged for three days before efforts contained it, scorching nearly 45,000 hectares of land and leaving a stark reminder of its power with the loss of 122 lives and around 15,000 buildings, including swathes of native forest.

The challenging terrain of hills and ravines intensified the efforts to combat the fire and the landscape. These photos preserve the echoes of what was.

This photo gallery is courtesy of Jaime Andrés Olivos.

Structures stand empty and exposed, their interiors gutted by the fire, serving as a stark reminder of the fragility of human constructs.

This vehicle became a silent witness to the ferocity of the fire that rampaged through the area.

Tents scattered across the once lush greenery house survivors amidst the stark, scorched earth.

A family huddles on a mattress, their possessions reduced to the bare essentials, against a backdrop of a community that once bustled with life.

An old tanker truck lies abandoned, amongst other charred remnants.

A Chilean flag flutters above a partially destroyed structure, a clear symbol of the resilience of the people.

Wildfires in Chile devastate communities and public settings

Remnants of the frame of a house frame without a roof reveals what unfolded as flames swept through parts of Chile.

Tents became a makeshift refuge, temporary homes for those who lost everything to the fire.

Workers in high-visibility clothing move amidst the affected area, where machinery is employed to clear the aftermath of the wildfire.

A woman sits surrounded by her remaining possessions under a protective net, her expression one of palpable loss.

Burned trees reveal the transformation of a park that once served as a place of leisure.

The scorched earth illustrates the nature of disaster, burning several areas and myriad homes.

Apartment building were gutted, a testament of the ferocity of the blaze.

Joy and sorrow collide in this jarring scene where residents wearing costumes atop a car wave around the ruins.

Daylight illuminates a hill of surviving homes, a community now forever altered.

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