Cañete in Chile's Biobío Region joins Community Prevention Network, an initiative led by Chilean Timber Corp. and its partner companies to prevent forest fires; CMPC supports the multi-stakeholder collaborative effort to reduce wildfire occurrence

Sample article from our Forestry & Timberland

October 6, 2023 (press release) –

Intense work has been done by the Community Prevention Network in Cañete in the Biobío Region of Chile. In recent weeks, prevention committees have been formed to help better take on the challenge of the upcoming summer season. That is the time when the majority of forest fires are generated.

As of last Thursday, September 28 in Mulchén in the Biobío Region of Chile committee No. 100 was created with the support of CMPC. An initiative led by the Chilean Timber Corporation (CORMA) and its partner companies, the Community Prevention Network already has more than 400 committees distributed from the O’Higgins to the Los Ríos Regions. 

The goal of this initiative is to develop the ability to prevent fires in a collaborative and ongoing manner in urban-rural interface communities. This pioneering management model in Chile promotes collaboration among neighbors, municipalities, companies, public entities and social organizations to reduce the occurrence of fires centered around a Local Prevention Plan.

On Friday 29, this plan was extended to the Province of Arauco in the Biobío Region where residents of Pedro de Valdivia in the Cañete district  met at their headquarters to form a new committee. The mayor of Cañete, Jorge Radonich, elected councilors, Carabinero police officers, community leaders and area residents all attended the event. After a brief explanation about the scope of the Network’s operational plan, a dozen people volunteered to start their local committee.

Cañete Mayor Jorge Radonich was on hand to highlight the role of the Community Prevention Network on forest fires in his community. “Undoubtedly, being prepared is always very important and forming prevention committees is a task that only very special companies can accomplish. In this case, CMPC’s has escalated the important level of the task of working with the communities to the top in order to get prepared in case of emergency. Rather than acting after disaster has struck, act first. Prevention is better than the cure,” he said.

“I’ve always participated in helping my community whenever possible, helping out my neighbors in every way, so I’m always willing to lend a hand and get in there when I think I can help. I feel I should always be there to assist my community because I really have a vocation to serve” said Sandra Martinez, neighborhood leader and part of the new community prevention committee of Cañete.

Meanwhile, for Humberto Ramírez, vice president of the neighborhood council in the Pedro de Valdivia – La Granja sector, the issue of forest fires hits close to home, since he has always worked as a firefighter, so he encouraged his community to join the committee. “We are going to support them and at the same time, hand in hand with the municipality, we’re going to offer support by designing a prevention campaign starting with our neighbors. We’re calling on the people to join in and get to work so that, above all, we can make sure the fire does not reach the villages or our homes,” said the leader.   

While the work has only just begun, the meeting touched on a number of pressing issues to buy time ahead of the approaching fire season. According to Graciela Cardoza, manager of the Community Prevention Network of Cañete, Lebu and Los Alamos, residents who are committee members “are going to worry about identifying the combustible material found in their neighborhoods. How do we do this? Through a collaborative effort between the private company, the public at large and these neighbors working on the committee. We must map out all the risky locations, among other things, to make progress on a range of tasks.”

Finally, Héctor Cruz Pardo, department lead of CMPC Cañete said, “It is important to work with the municipality and neighbors so we can build an alliance, which will help the community place their trust in us. We not only care about the forest, but also about the relationship with our neighbors and being with them every day so they get to know us and believe in us because we’re a company open to working together with others.”

CMPC’s support

The Community Prevention Network is promoted by the Chilean Timber Corporation (CORMA) and its partners in a pioneering initiative that will be facing a huge challenge in upcoming months. In this context, CMPC has actively supported the committees by making available various resources and knowledge in favor of the community under the premise that the community is the first barrier to prevent forest fires and its first actions will be the ones to make the difference in reducing the occurrence of such emergencies.

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