Chile wildfire death toll rises to 131: Forensic service

AFP , Tuesday 6 Feb 2024

The death toll from a weekend inferno that razed hilltop neighborhoods in a coastal region of central Chile has risen to 131, the state forensic service said Tuesday.

A Chilean flag waves as neighbours clean their lands and burnt homes in Villa Independencia, Valparaiso region, Chile on February 5, 2024. AFP


The agency reported eight more deaths after the previous tally, and said only 35 of the victims have been identified since the fire devastated the region 120 kilometers (74 miles) north of the capital Santiago.

"Medical teams have carried out 82 autopsies," the forensic office said in a statement.

The fires surged Friday in the region, fueled by winds and amid a brutal heatwave that saw temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Streets have been left strewn with charred cars, debris and ash after flames tore through the narrow streets of the Valparaiso region, in the world's third-deadliest wildfire this century.

Most of the fatalities have been in Vina del Mar, a popular tourist spot known for its beaches and botanical garden -- which was razed.

Firefighters are still fighting dozens of blazes in the area, however they are now considered under control and no longer a threat to urban areas.

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