Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Wildfires

United States Embassy Santiago, Chile
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens:  Wildfires
January 27, 2017

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to ongoing wildfires throughout Chile. U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution in the affected areas (especially the O’Higgins, Maule, and BioBio regions) due to the uncontained nature of these fires and the dangers associated with their unpredictable changes in direction.

Chilean President Bachelet declared a state of emergency on Friday, January 20 due to wildfires. As of January 27, the Chilean National Emergency Agency (ONEMI) reports that there are approximately 70 active and uncontrolled wildfires affecting over 500,000 acres in the Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O’Higgins, Maule, Biobío, La Araucanía, and Los Lagos regions.

The Chilean National Forestry Service (CONAF) has restricted access to and closed multiple national parks located between Coquimbo and Los Lagos. For the most up-to-date listing of park closures, U.S. citizens should consult CONAF’s website. Additionally, as of January 27, the following highways have been closed: Autopista del Itata, Ruta a Cabrero, and Carretera Quillon-Hualqui.

U.S. citizens living in or traveling near any of the affected areas should follow instructions from local authorities and closely monitor the local media.  The following resources contain official information about the wildfires and/or updates on the health implications of the wildfires and smoke:

•        ONEMI´s website

•        ONEMI’s Twitter account

•        CONAF website

•        Chilean Ministry of Health

For further information:

•        See the State Department’s travel website<http://travel.state.gov/> for the Worldwide Caution<http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/worldwide-caution.html>, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Chile.<https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/chile.html>

•        Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program<https://step.state.gov/step/> (STEP<https://step.state.gov/step/>)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

•        Contact the U.S. Embassy in Chile<https://cl.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/> for up-to-date security information.  The U.S. Embassy in Santiago is located at Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago and is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm by appointment only for routine services.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is +56 22 330 3716.

•        Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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