Archive - January 28, 2017

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Chile in Flames

Chile in Flames

The devastating scenes on television are heartrending. Forests aflame in vast regions of central and southern Chile.  They resemble war scenes: people fleeing with the few possessions they can carry; a pickup truck loaded with a refrigerator; a mattress, a stove; tables, chairs, sofas clustered in the middle of the road. The pueblo of Santa Olga – homes, stores, schools, the firehouse – all reduced to ashes.             Firefighters with soot-covered faces struggle with heavy hoses. Neighbors and volunteers wield shovels and electric saws removing brush to create a firebreak. But the wind is wily, changing directions, trapping forestry workers and firemen. Ten deaths reported thus far. Rumors abound regarding the causes. Several fires seem to be man-made. It is clear that the vast plantations of pine and eucalyptus trees are particularly flammable especially in drought years with continuous high temperatures. What I hear is that native vegetation is more . . .

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