As a summer heatwave across southern and central regions of Chile continues, wildfires have now consumed over 750 hectares (1,853 acres) of the forest, destroyed several houses and threatened farms and forests in the South American nation.
According to the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf), fire has so far covered some 550 hectares near the city of Chillan which is about 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the capital Santiago and another 200 hectares have also been ravaged in another part of the Nuble region.
“It’s like your life is over. At my age, I have to start fighting again to recover my equipment, I lost all my working tools, ” said Juan Pradenas, a mechanic whose home was destroyed by the fire.
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As Chile’s Interior Ministry looks to secure more funding to fight the blaze in areas of more intense forestry and agricultural production, it had declared a red alert for the Nuble region and Biobio region, further south while it has also temporarily closed seven national parks in Santiago and some of Chile’s southern regions due to the risk of new fires.
The authorities also ordered the evacuation of rural areas of Nuble region due to the risk of fire and the government also fears that the Puelche – a phenomenon of hot, dry wind which is expected to arrive over central and southern Chile shortly – could pile on challenges to a region already registering temperatures of 42°C (108°F).
“It is a very complex combination,” Agriculture Minister Esteban Valenzuela told journalists.
Story was adapted from Reuters.