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Chile receives international help to fight the flames


(CNN, KYMA/KECY) - In Chile, raging wildfires have burned an area the size of Luxembourg.

The flames have turned deadly, with at least two dozen people killed and more than 2,500 injured.

A drought combined with extremely hot weather has made fighting the fires difficult.

Now, international crews have now joined the fight; both on the ground and in the air.

Extinguishing the flames

Help from a heavy hitter, a D.C. 10 tanker plane sent by the U.S. dumps tens of thousands of liters of water over wildfires in Chile.

It's part of an international effort to extinguish the raging flames which have spread in the south and central parts of the country, burning more than 300,000 hectares of land.

The air operations backing up a force of nearly 6,000 firefighters on the ground; many of whom are volunteers, as well as hundreds of emergency workers from countries around the world.

Despite all the human power, hot temperatures, combined with dry forested land, are creating tinderbox conditions.

Death and emotional toll

One man says he was spraying down his property with a hose when the fires quickly encircled him.

He says he took shelter in a clay oven for over an hour before his family could save him.

“I got in with the chainsaw; the dog and the chick were inside. I threw myself face down on the floor, said Pedro Aroca, a farmer.

At least two dozen people have died, over 1,200 homes destroyed, leaving many residents living in tents or shelters.

More than 2,000 people have sustained injuries and there are health warnings because of the smoke.

Then, there is the emotional toll.

“My daughters tell me not to worry that will all get by but it's painful because it was years of sacrifice," said Maria, a store owner.

Arrests and government preventions

Soldiers have begun patrolling the streets at night enforcing a midnight to 5:00am curfew in many of the affected areas.

The government says it is to prevent theft and looting.

Chile has, so far, arrested more than two dozen people with possible links to the fires.

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