International Charter activated for forest fire in Chile

Satellite picture of fire in Valparaiso (Image: NASA)

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated on 14 March 2015 for a forest fire in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, Chile. The mechanism was activated by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security of Chile (ONEMI) to receive satellite-based emergency information and maps.

The fire broke out on 13 March 2015, and forced 4,500 people to evacuate their homes. It was reported that the fire was caused at an illegal landfill where molten metal had started the fire and spread from there. One person died, and nineteen firefighters were injured in their efforts against the blaze. It is estimated that 500 hectares were burnt by the fire. By 16 March the fire was contained and people began returning to their homes where it was safe to do so.

Valparaiso is frequently affected by fire and is still recovering from a fire in April last year.

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