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SEPT. 2, 2021

President Piñera presents the National Forest Fire Protection Plan: “To protect our forests from fires is to protect our lives.”

The plan includes providing 62 aircraft, special vehicles and drones and almost 3,500 firefighters.

On Thursday, President Sebastián Piñera presented the National Forest Fire Protection Plan 2021-22. 

“Our forests are part of our identity, landscape and geography. They’re also our greatest allies in the fight against climate change. That is why to protect our forests from fires is to protect our lives,” the President said at an event at the Rodelillo Airfield in the Valparaíso Region. He was accompanied by Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado, Agriculture Minister María Emilia Undurraga, Regional Governor Jorge Martínez and National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) Director Rodrigo Munita. 

The government has approved a budget of 68.8 billion Chilean pesos for the season with the highest incidence of forest fires, which aims to prevent and combat these disasters in the best way possible. 

Forestry companies will allocate a similar budget and resources, which will take Chile’s total forest fire budget to 137.6 billion Chilean pesos. 

CONAF’s resources will include 62 aircraft and almost 3,500 firefighters, distributed in 270 brigades throughout the country, from the Atacama Region to Magallanes. Firefighters will make up conventional, night, helicopter, urban-rural interface, water tank and mechanized brigades. 

Furthermore, they will also have access to special fire-control vehicles: firefighting foam cannon trucks (PC-Code); mobile satellite command posts (PUMA) to plan and coordinate firefighting operations; water tank trucks for initial engagement, skidders and drones. 

CONAF is equipped with modern technologies, such as software that monitors fire behavior, such as speed, direction, intensity and height, valuable information to determine a combat strategy. They also have access to a forest fire prediction program called “Red Button”, which shows risk zones with high indices of fine dead fuel moisture and considers factors such as temperature and moisture. 

“This plan is based on the accumulated knowledge and experience we have in Chile. It includes the valuable collaboration of institutions such as CONAF, the National Emergency Office (ONEMI), the Fire Service, Municipal Governments, the Police Force, the Armed Forces, the Chilean Wood Corporation (CORMA) and forestry companies. It also incorporates the recommendations of the world’s leading experts in preventing and combating forest fires,” the President explained. 

In Chile, 99.2% of forest fires are caused by human factors, whether intentionally or by accident. 

“To reduce forest fires this season, we not only need more resources and better technologies. We also need the commitment and support of citizens to prevent these disasters. Our government will be severe and inflexible when persecuting these crimes,” the President concluded.