Chile: Forest Fires – January 2017 - Situation Report No. 01 (as of 31 January 2017)


This Sitrep has been produced by the United Nations System (UNS) in Chile, based on consolidated information from the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) and contributions from the UNS agencies.

  • 3,782 Affected population

  • 1,151 Sheltered populaton

  • 46 Activated shelters

  • 7 Affected regions

  • 1,025 Destroyed houses

  • 11 Deaths

  • 592 International brigades


  • A state of emergency has been declared in some zones of the country.

  • 7 out of 15 regions have suffered from forest fires.

  • The total number of active forest fires recorded in the country is 124, of which 65 are controlled, 58 are being fighted and 8 have been extinguished (as of 30 January).

  • 1,025 destroyed houses are registered. The majority are located in rural areas where the population had their livelihoods.

  • High numbers of livestock and farmland loss are reported, the main livelihood of the population in the affected areas.

  • The international community is reacting favorably to the support needs; its intervention needs to be coordinated.

  • 46 shelters have been activated: 12 in El Maule and 34 in Biobío providing shelter for 1,151 people.

  • The State has mobilised 11,000 people to control and put out the forest fires.

  • 592 international brigades are in place and 32 more are expected.

  • United Nations in Chile has deployed an UNDAC team of 11 experts that will contribute to the coordination and needs assessments.

Situation Overview

On 20 January, the Chilean Government declared a state of emergency due to the worst forest fires in several zones of the country, this declaration was later extended to a wider zone. The events occurred during the summer season, when fires are often recorded, although the underlying causes of these events have not yet been identified.

The situation reached unsustainable levels, which made it necessary for the Government to accept international assistance. In view of this, the United Nations System deployed an UNDAC team, which is supporting the ONEMI and the UN Office of the Resident Coordinator in coordination and assessment of the situation.

Among the most visible effects, ONEMI reports approximately 400,000 hectares have been burnt and people being affected is as shown in the key figures on this document.

In addition to the immediate national and international response already mentioned, there are 1,500 volunteers from Arica and Parinacota who have been deployed to the region of Los Lagos (firemen). 69 aircraft have been mobilised as well as some 597 land units.

Currently at regional level, Biobio and O’Higgins are under red alert; La Araucania and Maule in yellow alert; and Coquimbo, Los Lagos, Los Ríos, Magallanes, Metropolitana and Valparaiso maintain a preventive early warning.

Since the emergency remains active, there is no registry of the total impact of the disaster on livelihoods, but public information and information obtained directly from the professionals from the municipalities affected, show that mainly livestock (loss of cattle, birds and horses), subsistence agriculture (fruit trees, vegetables, forest fruits), sawmills and woodworking. In some sectors, livelihoods are tourism and beekeeping.