Wildfires across Chile claim at least 13 lives


At least 13 people were reported dead as a result of the more than 150 wildfires burning across Chile, which have destroyed homes and thousands of hectares of forest.

The South American country is in the midst of a scorching heatwave that is set to continue with high temperatures and strong winds that could make the wildfires more challenging.

Four of the deaths involved two vehicles in the Biobio region, about 560 kilometres south of the capital of Santiago.

On Friday afternoon, a helicopter that was helping to fight the fires crashed in the Araucania region, killing the Bolivian pilot and a Chilean mechanic.

The national agency responsible for emergencies raised the death toll to 13 on Friday night, without giving details on the latest deaths.

As of midday on Friday, 151 wildfires were burning throughout Chile, including 65 declared under control. The fires had blazed through more than 14,000 hectares.

President Gabriel Boric, who cut short his holiday to visit the affected areas on Friday, said there was evidence that some of the wildfires were sparked by unauthorised burnings.

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