A week of forest fires in Chile: there are 84 active sources that are out of control

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They affect the central south of the country and represent an imminent threat to people's lives because they are expanding

A week of forest fires in Chile: there are 84 active sources that are out of control

A firefighter runs to fight the flames caused by forest fires in Santa Juana, Chile (AP Photo/Matías Delacroix)

Weather conditions on Wednesday made it difficult to fight 84 forest fires uncontrolled fires that affect south-central Chile and that represent an imminent threat to people's lives because they are spreading.

The forest fires broke out a few a week in central-southern Chile and have destroyed more than 310,000 hectares and 1,180 homesand caused varied injuries to just over 2,000 people.

The Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, estimated that active fires in the country are 311 -10 more than Tuesday- of which 180 are controlled and 84 are out of control -15 more than the day before- and they are expanding.

Added that “we are entering this part of the week, which is the most complex”, between Wednesday and Friday, due to a new heat wave forecast by the Chilean Meteorological Directorate.

A week of forest fires in Chile: there are 84 active sources that are out of control

A car passes trees destroyed by fires in Santa Juana (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Seven of Chile's 16 regions are under a preventive alert because high temperatures increase the risk of forest fires. Forecasts indicate that on Thursday the heat will be around 37 degrees Celcius. Among them are Ñuble and Biobío, the most affected by the accidents and the area where the capital is located.

In Biobío, about 600 kilometers to the south from the Chilean capital, the largest fire is located, with an area of ​​100 kilometers, according to the Minister of Public Works, Juan Carlos García.

Tohá rectified the number of deaths and reported that there are 24, two less than the 26 deaths reported by the government on Monday. He specified that the error was due to the fact that a couple of deceased people were counted twice.

In the areas under fire, forestry, agricultural and livestock activities predominate, and the damage, for now , are incalculable.

A week of forest fires in Chile: there are 84 active sources that are out of control

The trees burn (AP Photo/Matías Delacroix)

The South American country has received help from several countries in the region and Europe to fight the flames. On Wednesday, 150 Mexican brigade members joined the partywho joined the same number of their compatriots who have been in the field since the beginning of the week, as well as 65 Argentines and 50 Spaniards.

Tohá indicated that the Thursday will join 75 firefighters from Colombia and Venezuela. And that there are talks with Portugal, while France reported that it will send 80 men.

Some of the greatest hopes in controlling the fire were centered on the US plane Ten Tanker, which with each discharge drops 36,000 liters of water onto the flames, but on Tuesday suffered a malfunction in one of its valves. The piece is in flight from the United States, so the aircraft will not be operational before Saturday, reported the National Forestry Corporation.

Tohá downplayed the situation because, he added, in the country there are a fleet of 122 planes dedicated to fighting the fires, of which 107 are operating in the center-south.

(With information from AP )

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