January 3, 2023

The company Chairman said, “In recent weeks we’ve witnessed how the human hand is behind most of the fires.” This is not only caused by negligence or mistakes; rather, we are dealing with people, or criminals really, who are only seeking to do harm.”

A large amount of technical and human resources was on display this morning at the CMPC firefighting presentation for the 2022-2023 peak season at the Trilahue Base airfield in the Cabrero district.

Attendees included CMPC Chairman Luis Felipe Gazitúa, CEO Francisco Ruiz-Tagle, the presidential delegate of the province of Biobío Paulina Purrán, and Mayors Carlos Toloza (Nacimiento), José Sáez (Yumbel), Manuel Macaya (Collipulli) and Carlos Chandía ( Coihueco).

To kick things off, the CMPC Deputy Manager of Forest Protection Raúl Serrano presented this season’s resources including tanker planes, helicopters for transporting firefighters and water, land machinery, trolleys, as well as specialized and multipurpose fire brigade members.

After that the CMPC Companies Chairman explained, “What we do is look around the world to find out about best practices, new software, transport equipment like helicopters and airplanes. We try to bring that all here so that the work is as efficient and expedient as possible. If we can extinguish a fire in the first 15 minutes that means a person’s life gets saved, a house is protected, a field is spared, and the environment is protected.”

He also emphasized that the outlook is not encouraging due to the climate crisis and also that, “In recent weeks we’ve witnessed how the human hand is behind most of the fires,” which are not only caused by negligence or errors. Instead, “We are dealing with people, or criminals really, who are only seeking to do harm.” Furthermore, he said, “Fire brigade members now need to be protected to carry out their work due to the level of violence we are dealing with in some parts of the Biobio and Araucanía Regions. (…) at CMPC we are doing and will keep doing everything in our power so that they will have the best and safest working conditions possible.”

Provincial Delegate of Biobío Paulina Purrán said, “We are at the Trilahue Base, in the Cabrero district, looking over the tools with which CMPC and the fire brigades will be working during this peak fire prevention season. (…) Our call out to the community is to prevent fires and give notice in case of suspicion.”

Resources

Although the summer is peak forest fire season, preparation and prevention work is unceasing throughout the year in order to handle a growing phenomenon of burned areas, where almost 75% are lit intentionally and the rest are started accidentally or by negligence, with just 1% caused by nature.

Faced with this reality, detection systems have been intensified every season, and resources and technologies to fight fires are increasing. Currently the company has: 22 aircraft, 1,220 heli-runways and GPS heli-points, 32 landing and water loading runways (owned outright or under agreement with Corma and Conaf), 441 water sources for helicopter loading, 64 aircraft loading tanks, 108 ground combat brigades, equipped with water and tools (51 standard brigades + 57 multipurpose brigades), 12 tank brigades, with a capacity of 10 thousand liters, specialized for putting out fires and 8 mechanized brigades for building firewalls.