Wildfires kill 13 in Chile

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Dozens of raging wildfires in Chile claimed at least 13 lives and torched some 35,000 acres of land.

This comes as a summer heatwave sweeps across the southern hemisphere country.

Report says eleven people, including a firefighter, had died in the town of Santa Juana in Biobio, south of capital Santiago.

The Minister of Agriculture also reported an emergency-support helicopter in the southern region of La Araucania had crashed, killing the pilot and a mechanic.

Meanwhile, states of catastrophe have been declared in the farming and forest areas of Biobio and neighboring Nuble, prompting the deployment of soldiers and additional resources.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged while 39 fires rage across the country, Interior Minister Carolina Toha said.

“The conditions in the coming days are going to be risky,” Toha said

She said ground equipment and a fleet of 63 available planes were reinforcing the firefight, with help from Brazil and Argentina expected.

President Gabriel Boric cut his summer vacation short and traveled to Nuble and Biobio.

“My role as president today is to ensure that all resources will be available for the emergency and so that people feel that they are not going to be alone,” Boric said.

He also pointed to signs that some fires may have been started intentionally.

Some families sought refuge in shelters, according to the Chilean disaster agency Senapred.

While Fires disrupted traffic on highways, and numerous settlements have been evacuated.



REUTERS/Christopher Ojilere

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