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Chile Wildfires Take the Lives of Over 130

AP News
Visitors at Viña del Mar pictured playing paddle board near rising smoke from the wildfires.

On February 2, a series of devastating wildfires in Chile killed over 130 people (CNN). These fires began on Viña Del Mar, a beach resort popular with tourists. Chilean President Gabriel Boric declared a state of emergency and stated that the fires likely spread due to the extreme heat wave, in which Chile’s capital Santiago reached almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit (AP News). The people of Chile were forced to leave everything behind and evacuate their homes. President Gabriel Boric has described this as the “worst tragedy” that Chile has experienced since the 2010 earthquake (Times Now World). 

However, Chile is not the only country that has been experiencing this environmental crisis. Several South American countries have faced extreme wildfires due to both human activity and weather patterns. In January, fires in Columbia tore through nearly 42,000 acres of land(Guardian).

CONAF, also known as the National Forest Corporation, is a non-profit organization in Chile that works to sustain the forests. CONAF attributed 99.7% of Chile’s wildfires to human negligence (Guardian). Much of the affected area in Chile was composed of non-native trees grown for the timber trade, which allowed for the fire to spread much more rapidly (Guardian). Ramapo math teacher Mrs. Flystra commented, “It’s terrible when something like this happens in a community. We’ve seen this most recently with the wildfires in Lahaina. We know that it takes so much money to rebuild people’s homes and time to restore the Earth back to how it was, so it’s devastating to think about how much reparation is ahead of them.” Although many governments across South America have taken action to prevent wildfires, the current climate crisis is a global issue that must be addressed immediately by all nations. Ramapo junior, Juliana Grbic, urges action against climate change: “It’s time we stop denying climate change and embrace a future filled with sustainable solutions.”

The recent wildfires in Chile were a rude awakening for people worldwide. Climate action is more urgent than ever. 

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Savannah DeFino, Assistant Editor

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