Wildfires rage in Chilean national park

Officials close down Chile's Torres del Paine national park as fires rage; blazes consume over 5700 hectares.

December 31, 2011 04:55
Fires in Chile, Torres del Paine national park

Fires rage in Chilean Torres del Paine national park 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Wildfires forced officials to close Torres del Paine national park on Friday. Located in the Chilean Patagonia, the park is a major tourist destination.

The blazes have consumed over 5700 hectares despite the efforts of 120 fire-fighters. Officials say strong winds have pushed the fire along and complicated efforts to put out the blaze.

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The national weather service predicted winds of up to 90 kilometers an hour on Friday.

A popular site because of its striking pinnacled peaks, thousands of tourists visit the park in the austral summer for hiking and camping.

Chile was preparing to send another 67 fire-fighters and 50 soldiers as reinforcement. The Air Force was also providing a helicopter to join four planes already working in the area.

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