Forest Fires Destroy Over 100,000 Hectares in Chile

Government seeks international aid

In this Jan. 21, 2017 photo, a firefighters work near a wall of flame in Pumanque, Chile. Chile is suffering one of its worst fire waves in history. The fires have outpaced local ability to put them out, forcing Chile to request international aid. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)


SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Some of the worst wildfires in Chile’s history have destroyed more than 100,000 hectares of forest and forced the government to seek international aid.

Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche said Spain, Peru and Mexico are sending help to fight the wave of fires that have been fed by a prolonged drought and temperatures that have topped 100 Fahrenheit (40 Celsius).

Hardest-hit is the south-central region of O’Higgins, where fires have destroyed homes, pasture and livestock, with ranchers releasing animals to avoid the oncoming flames. The government has declared a state of emergency in the area.

Smoke from the fires has shrouded various cities, including the capital of Santiago.

Chile’s National Forestry Corporation said there were 129 wildfires raging across the country on Saturday. The number dropped slightly to 108 on Sunday.

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