CMPC Companies CEO: “To insist that the pine and eucalyptus plantation is the cause of this seems to me to be a serious mistake”

CMPC CEO spoke with Radio Agricultura about the resources the company has deployed so far this season from the area in south-central Chile affected by forest fires. He also addressed the intentionality behind the fires, with multiple hotspots on each property, the importance of the forestry industry for the country, and the myths that have arisen around it. 

During the Mujer de Palabra program on Radio Agricultura, the CMPC CEO commented on the gravity of the intentional nature of these fires affecting various districts of La Araucanía, Biobío, Ñuble and Maule Regions this season. He clarified that 50% of them originated on properties that are not part of the forest plantations. He also pointed out that, “There are farms that have had fires at 20 different locations. While the firefighters are working, people are lighting additional fires behind our backs.”

As for the complaints, he said that this season the company has filed around 130 police reports, with several more to be filed with recordings that have captured vehicles on film moving through the area lighting more fires.

He added that they have 1,400 people working constantly to fight the fires with 22 aircraft in permanent combat mode. He calculates an investment of over 35 million dollars for this season’s resources.

To all this, he added the prevention work that the company had been doing all along. He highlighted the construction of about 8,000 kilometers of firebreaks and the presence of 65 committees of the Community Prevention Network, where work is being done to clean different areas and raise awareness among neighbors about fire.

He also addressed the myths that have arisen about the industry. “To insist that the pine and eucalyptus plantation is the cause of this seems to me to be a serious mistake.  (…) The forestry industry is a sustainable and renewable industry. We tend to hold up the Scandinavian countries as good examples due to the way in which they develop. This industry in Scandinavia is essential. It is a key aspect of those countries’ development and unthinkable that anyone would question it. They also have heat waves and high temperatures caused by climate change, but you don’t see these fire situations that we have in Chile,” he said.

Check out the full interview here