January 21, 2017
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 Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O’Higgins, Maule, Biobío, La Araucanía, 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. For additional information, please refer to our “Traveler’s Checklist” page.
Contact the U.S. Embassy in Chile 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.
You may also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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For those interested in assisting in the fight against the Chilean wildfires, please contact the following NGOs. The Embassy does not endorse or recommend a particular NGO, but rather hopes to provide assistance to those who want to donate by compiling a list of NGOs working to combat the fires.