Three brigadiers of the Chilean National Forest Corporation lose their lives fighting forest fires in the mountainous Maule region. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Three brigadiers of the Chilean National Forest Corporation died fighting forest fires in the mountainous, central Maule region on Sunday (January 15), as firefighters work to contain the blaze. Regional director of the corporation CONAF, Alfredo Mascareno, confirmed to the local television channel TVN, that a sudden and unexpected change in the direction of the wind caused the death of three firefighters with a further five injured who were taken to the Base de Licanten Hospital. The forest fires the brigadiers were fighting at the time have consumed some 50 hectares (124 acres) of land, with a red alert declared in the Vichuquen community, situated some 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the capital, Santiago. A local said the brigadiers had entered an unknown and treacherous part of the mountain, and were unable to escape. "They did not know their way around the mountain. The mountain curves around and there is a creak with a lot of bushes where get the worms (to use as fishing bait), the brigadiers went in there and they had no way of getting out," the local said. Local prosecutor, Jose Alcaino, said investigations were underway to determine the exact cause of the deaths. "The homicide brigade from Curico was sent to the site in question, to work with respect to the death of these people and the extraction of the cadavers," said Alcaino. Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, confirmed the identity of the brigadiers who lost their lives and expressed her condolences in a ceremony in Santiago. "Ricardo Salas, Sergio Faundez and Wilfredo Salgado, are the three brigadiers who did not doubt for a minute going out to comply with their duty. We are sad but also appreciate what they delivered, working non-stop to prevent the fire from expanding towards the populated zones," said Bachelet. CONAF is working with the fire service and the National Civil Protection System to control the fires.