Preventing fires in Torres del Paine
Fire caused by human negligence is the biggest problem suffered by Torres del Paine National Park. Three major fires recorded prior to 2012 have each destroyed, on average, more than 15,000 acres, and the most recent one in the summer of 2012, destroyed more than 17,000 acres.
For some people, a cigarette butt or a match may not seem risky, but the prevailing winds in Torres del Paine increase the risk of fire, especially in high season, as they are able to transfer a flame hundreds of meters. So, in order to avoid these incidents, there are a number of basic rules that every tourist MUST know and practice during his/her visit to the park. ONLY the responsible behaviour of every passenger will help us to keep the risk of forest fire away from Torres del Paine.
Read and share this brief guide to help us to keep Torres del Paine pristine.
- Lighting fires is forbidden within the park and its surroundings.
- Only use gas cookers and follow the highest safety standards to prevent rollover.
- Campfires are only allowed in areas previously established (for security reasons). It is important to wait until the wood is completely burnt out and to make sure the fire is fully extinguished before leaving. Fantástico Sur has forbidden the lighting of fires in all the refugios and camping sites as a highest measure of safety.
- Avoid bonfires or other kinds of fire in dry season or adverse weather conditions such as wind storms.
- Smoking is forbidden except in certain places (hotels and lodges with ashtrays). Cigarette butts must be properly extinguished and disposed of. Never throw a cigarette butt on the ground.
- Avoid irresponsible behaviour when managing fires. The last fire was lit by a napkin that the wind blew away and the one prior to that was caused by the overturning of a camping stove in a non available area to use it.
- For Chilean regulations, smoking is banned inside public places or stores not suitable for smokers.
In case of fire, you must follow these instructions:
- Alert a park ranger about a possible fire, regardless of size or whether it is visible from your location.
- If you are near the fire, find the best way to escape from it.
- If possible you have to escape downhill, since the propagation is slower in that direction.
- Never attempt to extinguish a fire alone, get help and allow the people in charge of the Park to guide you.