Fire destroys Chilean orchards in southern region -

Fire destroys Chilean orchards in southern region

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Fire destroys Chilean orchards in southern region

Chile's VIII (Biobío) region has lost 178 hectares of apple trees, cherry orchards and vineyards in forest fires, according to the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP).

Up to 300 farmers have lost or suffered damage to their crops, apiaries, warehouses and equipment. It's estimated the blazes have claimed 67 greenhouses, 640 head of livestock and 650 beehives.

Infrastructure such as warehouses, tractors, irrigation equipment, fencing, centrifuges, pumps and ponds have also been affected.

Agriculture Minister Luis Mayol, declared a state of emergency in Quillón, Ránquil, San Rosendo and Florida provinces and has offered CLP360 million (US$705,536) in funds to help farmers offset their losses.

The Agriculture Ministry (MINAGRI) said the figure could change as it was still working on registering the damage.

Financial aid will be given via emergency credit for food and water supplies for crops and stocks, while loans will be given to farmers to rebuild infrastructure.

The Government is investigating whether the fires were intentional or not. Over the last few months Chile has experienced unusually hot and dry weather without rainfall.

Photo: Desafío Levantemos Chile

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