Chile’s Wildfire Tragedy Demands Urgent Action 

Chile is facing a devastating forest fire in the Valparaíso region, which has claimed more than 120 lives and left 15,000 homes in ruins. Viña del Mar and Quilpué communities now bear witness to the devastation this catastrophe is inflicting on daily life. It is hitting people hard, and we must unravel what went wrong. 

The growing threat of these fires is not new in Chile, which faced critical fire seasons in 2014, 2017, and 2023. The unprecedented scale of destruction is due to a combination of prolonged drought, reckless forest plantations of non-native species, and inadequate urban planning. 

All these causes are artificial. They can be traced to decisions made by the ruling class in the name of profit. They are the product of the system in which we live, a system that we must fight to change. Addressing climate change, reevaluating land use policies, and prioritizing community welfare over profit-driven efforts must guide Chile’s path into the future. The specifics may be different, but the same is generally true all over the world. Only through collective effort — and moving quickly — will we be able to change course. Together we must fight to build a future in which our communities are resilient, our environment is protected, and our collective well-being comes before profit-driven interests.