I can usually see the side of a mountain from my bedroom window, but all I’ve seen in that spot for the past two weeks is grayness. This grayness is also known as ash. You may or may not be aware that there have been an insane number of fires all around Chile in the past couple weeks — such an insane number that records are being broken. These are not the kind of records we strive to break.
Today, January 26, an entire town in central-southern Chile was destroyed by one of these fires, leaving thousands of people without homes. Despite the help sent by other nations (Argentina, France, the United States, Brasil, and more), the fires continue. The number of firefighters (bomberos) here is proportionally small because their force is completely composed of volunteers — there’s no such thing as a paid bombero here. This is just one of the factors that is making these recent fires so devastating.
Since July of last year, 360,000 acres of land have been affected by the fires. More than 200,000 of those acres have been burned just in the month of January 2017. 160,000 in 6 months… 200,000 in one month… That’s not good.
Most of the fires are thought to be caused by human carelessness (such as leaving glass in the sun), which is added to the already hot hot temperatures of this past month and the generally dry climate.
While the fires are not in the city of Santiago, the resulting smoke has been visible here for more than a week, hence why I cannot see the mountain from my window. While walking around the streets, you usually don’t notice; but if you look around a little closer, you can actually see ash particles in the air. Advisories tell residents to be aware of the air composition and suggest a pause on the outdoor-exercise routine. I don’t know if it’s just in my head, but I feel like my throat has been getting scratchy on my walk/metro journey to and from school…
But now if you see a #PrayForChile, you know why.
Peace and Blessings x
(From Santiago, Chile)