Four firefighters, two police officers killed battling forest fires in Chile

Santiago: Six people -- four firefighters and two police -- have now been killed battling vast forest fires in central Chile, officials said today.

"I can now say officially that there are two more fatalities -- two Chilean firefighters who were found in the Maule River," said Interior Minister Mario Fernandez, raising the total death toll to six.

Multiple blazes have ravaged 470,000 acres, the National Forestry Corporation said in a statement. Frantic locals have been joining in efforts to tackle the blaze to save their homes, animals and farmland. President Michelle Bachelet Tuesday ordered extra funds to fight what she called the country's worst forest fires ever.

At least 4,000 people have been evacuated, the National Emergency Office said on Tuesday. The fires have struck mainly in sparsely populated rural areas in the central regions of O'Higgins and El Maule. The United States has offered $100,000 for the firefighting effort and France and Mexico have sent personnel to help.

Fires are common in Chile's parched woods during the Southern Hemisphere's summer. Most are caused by human activity. But this year was considered worse because of a drought attributed by environmentalists to climate change.


Updated Date: Jan 26, 2017 08:46:15 IST