SANTIAGO, Chile — Volunteers in central Chile tried to remove charred metal, broken glass and other debris Monday from neighborhoods devastated by wildfires over the past several days, as officials raised the death toll to 123. Hundreds of people remain missing.
The fires appeared to have diminished by Monday morning after burning intensely since Friday on the eastern edge of the city of Viña del Mar. Two other towns in the Valparaíso region, Quilpé and Villa Alemana, also have been hit hard, and President Gabriel Boric said Sunday that at least 3,000 homes had been burnt down in the area.
An additional 10 victims were added to the death toll on Monday afternoon, said Marisol Prado, the director of Chile's Forensic Medical Service.
Prado said that many bodies were in bad condition and difficult to identify, but added that forensic workers would be taking samples of genetic material from people who have reported missing relatives.
Viña del Mar's Mayor Macarena Ripamonti said that at least 370 people have been reported missing in the city of about 300,000 residents.
The fires ravaged several neighborhoods that had been precariously built on the mountains that loom to the east of Viña del Mar, which is also a popular beach resort.
Officials have suggested that some of the wildfires around the city could have been intentionally provoked. Dry weather, strong winds and low humidity helped the fires spread faster, Boric said.