森林運作中心（Forestry Operations Center, CONAF）主任Cristian Orellana說，火勢一個晚上就擴散超過1萬公頃，延燒距離超過26公里，甚至大到飛機無法飛到上空撒水。
歐盟透過歐洲公民保護與人道救援總署（Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations）提供協助。創立於2001年的歐洲公民保護機制（EU Civil Protection Mechanism）協調全歐國家級的公民保護當局，提供災後立即援助。
In Chile’s worst fire disaster in 50 years, the South American country has lost over half a million hectares to more than 100 wildfires that first flared up in mid-January. The blazes have frustrated firefighters’ efforts to control them, with new hot spots emerging daily across the central and southern regions.
Eleven fatalities have been reported, many of them firefighters.
Meteorologists say the entire Southern Hemisphere is experiencing an unusually dry, windy summer, ideal conditions for wildfires to burn out of control.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has declared a national state of emergency. As of today, 26 fires are more or less under control, but at least six wildfires are still raging, according to the Forestry Operations Center, CONAF.
Cristian Orellana, who manages CONAF in the central Chilean region of Maule has been supervising the response to the largest fire in the country. “In a single night, the fire spread over 10,000 hectares, covering 26 kilometers,” he said.
“The heat was such that even planes couldn’t fly over to drop water,” said Orellana.
Entire vineyards in Chile’s famous wine region have been destroyed.
Thousands of people have had to flee their homes, and over 1,500 houses have been completely destroyed.
The European Union is offering assistance through its Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
Established in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, EUCPM, coordinates national civil protection authorities across Europe to deliver immediate assistance in the aftermath of a disaster.
“I have never seen such widespread damage and such a level of destruction,” says José Almovodovar, an EUCPM expert in forest fires, after viewing the region from a helicopter.
Wild animals are fleeing the forests towards inhabited areas in search of food and shelter, says CODEFF, the BirdLife International affiliate in Chile, which has mobilized volunteers to help them.
Some of the areas affected by the wildfires have been assessed as being Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas by BirdLife International.
Wildlife rehabilitation centers across the country are treating birds, snakes and mammals such as foxes, leopards and cougars.
CODEFF is running a campaign to collect medicines and medical supplies for the treatment of burned animals.
CODEFF is coordinating with various government agencies and other NGOs to go to the most remote areas in search of injured animals.
The fires can be seen from space, and their pattern includes a massive burn scar near Empedrado. Scientists with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA say this year’s Chilean fires are 10 times more numerous that those recorded during the dry seasons from 2003 to 2016.
“This is unprecedented from my perspective. The smoke plumes are huge in abundance and altitude,” said Michael Fromm, a meteorologist with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory who has been studying satellite fire data for 15 years. “Fires have gotten much larger and much more energetic than typical for that area.”