By Laura Gamba
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - The wave of deadly forest fires that is affecting south-central Chile since last week has left at least 26 people dead and more than a thousand injured, authorities reported on Monday.
The fires are progressing in the midst of the summer high temperatures which have reached 41 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit), conditions that will persist this coming week.
Chile's Interior Minister, Carolina Toha, warned that "the conditions in the coming days will be very risky."
Strong winds and low humidity have complicated the work of firefighters struggling to put out more than 270 active blazes across the country, especially in the regions of Biobio and Nuble, where authorities have declared a red alert.
International experts are joining the unprecedented fight against the fires that have already consumed more than 270,000 hectares (667,000 acres) and destroyed 1,559 homes.
Firefighters have arrived in Chile from Argentina, Spain and Mexico, while the authorities from Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela announced they would send support.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday that 180 specialists trained in controlling wildfires had left for Chile to join in the fight against blazes.
An aircraft arrived from Spain carrying a contingent of 50 people, including firefighters, military personnel and pilots to operate drones.
Argentina also joined the firefighting effort with brigade members, helicopters and all-terrain trucks with forestry equipment.
The Ten Tanker, a US aircraft specially designed to store 36,000 liters of water to extinguish the flames, is already in Chile, President Gabriel Boric announced.
"It is exciting to see how other countries that have their own problems and needs, allocate their resources to help us at this time," said Minister Toha.