Catastrophic Wildfires in Chile Kill At Least 11 People

Forest fires consume parts of the community of Vichuquen in Chile's Maule Region.
Forest fires consume parts of the community of Vichuquen in Chile’s Maule Region.

A chain of wildfires has unleashed a catastrophe over wide swaths of central and southern Chile, killing at least 11 people, destroying thousands of homes and consuming an area about three times the size of New York City, authorities said.

“We have never seen anything on this scale, never in the history of Chile,” President Michelle Bachelet, who has declared a state of emergency, said earlier this week.

“The truth is that the forces are doing everything humanly possible and will continue until they can contain and control the fires.”

Many of those killed are firefighters battling more than 100 separate fires, about half of which are still uncontrolled, according to government reports.

Bachelet said she planned to meet with the intelligence heads of police and armed forces to discuss the investigation into the cause.

“Because there are multiple points of origin, we cannot dismiss the possibility that there might be an intentional component here,” she said Thursday in Santiago.

“We are strongly following this and have been investigating it for some days, and I want to know how far we’ve gotten.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: CNN, Ray Sanchez