The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens traveling and living in Chile that President Bachelet declared a state of emergency on Friday, January 20 due to wildfires. The Chilean national emergency agency (ONEMI) reports that there are 27 active and uncontrolled wildfires affecting over 155,500 acres of vegetation in the regions of Valparaiso, Metropolitana, O'Higgins, Maule, Biobio, La Araucania, and Los Lagos. U.S. citizen residents and tourists are advised to exercise extreme caution in these areas, especially the popular tourist destinations in and around Santa Cruz and the coastal town of Pichilemu.
People have been evacuated from multiple fire zones in the region including from the coastal town of Pichilemu. The Government of Chile has declared a Disaster Zone for several affected communities and shelters have been set-up.
The Embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens living in or traveling near any of the affected areas follow all emergency instructions from local authorities and are encouraged to closely monitor the local media. ONEMI's website contains official information about the wildfires. Please visit www.onemi.cl for additional information
U.S. citizens are advised to monitor information released by the Chilean Ministry of Health (www.minsal.cl/) as well as the local media for any updates on the health implications of the wildfires and smoke.
The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Chile enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Chile.
Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council