Climate seen as key factor in record Chilean fires


Víctor Fuentes and his fellow firefighters could only watch, anguished and helpless, as voracious flames on Jan. 24 jumped the firebreaks they had installed and began consuming the small Chilean town of Sauzal, located in the country’s Maule Region. “That day we all were saying that what we were facing was hell,” says Fuentes, 50, whose firefighting unit is based in Cauquenes province, a part of Central Chile’s Maule Region, 350 kilometers (217 miles) south of Santiago. Fuentes had been a firefighter for 20 years, but he was enduring his first-ever two-week stretch of continuous duty, battling blazes the likes of which he had never seen. Previously, a two-day stint had been his longest. Yet Fuentes, vice superintendent of the Cauquenes firefighting... [Log in to read more]

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