Chile battles worst fires in history

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Maura Maxwell

BY MAURA MAXWELL

@maurafruitnet

Chile battles worst fires in history

There has been no official word yet on the impact on the country’s fruit exports

Chile battles worst fires in history

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Chile has appealed for international help to tackle fires are sweeping through central and southern regions. Almost 100 separate blazes have been reported between the regions of Valparaíso and Maule, fanned by strong winds, high temperatures and the decade-long drought.

The fires – the worst in Chile’s history – have claimed ten lives and destroyed almost 290,000ha according to the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf).

A number of centuries-old vineyards in the Maule region are known to have been destroyed by the fires, many of which have been raging for weeks. However, the impact on fruit production is unclear.

Following a meeting with the National Agriculture Society on Monday, agriculture minister Carlos Furche told reporters: “The information we have available suggests that up to today there has been no significant damage to production because it is located in the Central Valley, while the fires are concentrated in the coastal mountain range.”

Fruitnet has been unable to ascertain whether access to ports has been affected and as of Friday no official information had been released about possible damage to roads and other infrastructure.

On Thursday, president Michelle Bachelet held a meeting with various industry bodies including Asoex and Fedefruta to coordinate efforts to tackle the emergency and support future reconstruction efforts.

Bachelet described the meeting as “positive” and said the private sector had “committed to supporting the government during the emergency”.

 

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