At least 24 dead as Chile battles out-of-control wildfires


(NEW YORK) — At least 24 people are dead as dozens of wildfires rage in Chile amid a scorching heat wave, Chilean authorities confirmed to ABC News.

The fatalities included two firefighters, authorities said. Approximately 1,000 people have also been injured, with 26 in life-threatening condition, and 1,475 people were evacuated and staying in shelters, authorities said.

As of Sunday evening, 260 fires were active in the South American country, with 28 out of control and considered dangerous, authorities said. At least 270,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed so far, according to official data.

A state of emergency has been declared in the central-southern regions of La Araucania, Ñuble and Biobío, which have been especially hard-hit by the fires.

Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia will be supporting the firefighting efforts with aircraft and logistics, Chilean authorities said.

Chile has been battling scores of wildfires amid high temperatures and a prolonged drought. The heat wave is expected to continue until at least Wednesday, with forecasted temperatures of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Strong winds are also expected, which risk worsening fire conditions.

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