West News Wire: More than 2,000 people have been hurt and at least 26 people have died as a result of the wildfires that have been burning over Chile for more than a week.

A heatwave has engulfed the area, with temperatures rising beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and more than 1,500 homes have been completely burned by the fires, leaving thousands more homeless.

The Interior Ministry of Chile told news reporters that the Andean country has already lost more than 889,000 acres of forest.

According to officials, more than 6,000 firefighters, the most of whom are volunteers, are battling more than 323 active fires, including 90 that are out of control.

Weather experts say that the drought that has taken hold in Chile has been brought on by a mix of climate change and a Pacific Ocean weather condition called La Nina. The combination of these conditions have allowed for stronger winds from the ocean to deeper into Chile and has been a catalyst for the spread of these wildfires.

The Chilean government have now put three regions in the south-central part of the country Biobio, La Araucaunia and Nuble on high alert and Chile’s Interior Minister Carolina Toha said that a curfew will be declared in these regions.

The United States has sent a DC-10 Air Tanker aircraft with a capacity of 36,000 liters to help contain the wildfires while Chilean authorities said that Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Spain have already provided some form of logistics and material support.

Toha also said that water tanks could be used to battle the fires and have asked for them to be available as soon as possible.

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Authorities warned that high temperatures and strong winds could further complicate the situation even further over the weekend.


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