Chile recently declared a state of emergency in the midst of its worst forest fires in decades. At least 11 people died and hundreds have been evacuated from their homes. The fires have burned more than 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) in seven of the country's 15 regions.
"The fire situation has been aggravated due to the high temperatures (40° Celsius/104° Fahrenheit) and the lack of rain," said Tabita Gonzalez, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries coordinator for the South America Region.
Chile President Michelle Bachelet requested help from other countries as Chile has “practically exhausted its capacity to fight the blazes.” The Daily Mail reported more than 20,000 people have helped battle the fires, including firefighters and experts from outside Chile. They are now focusing on populated areas since they do not have enough resources to work in all fire locations.
There are 25 Nazarene churches in the affected regions. The Hualpen Church of the Nazarene, whose members received disaster relief training, started a campaign last week with four other Nazarene churches to raise funds and to gather water and non-perishable food items for affected families and firefighters. The churches were able to raise enough for 50 kits, and the number continues to grow. Each kit is designed to last a family of four one week. The kits costs $75 and include water, non-perishable food, hygiene supplies, and house cleaning items.
At least four church members have family members affected by the fires. More information will be posted as it is made available.
How to help
Pray for rain and lower temperatures as firefighters battle the blaze. Pray for those attempting to extinguish the fire and the workers assisting affected communities. Pray for the families displaced from their homes and for the church leaders and members who are providing support to their neighbors.
Churches and individuals who want to support the response efforts in Chile can give to the Chile Wildfire Fund.