6 Jan 2012

Forest blaze kills volunteer firefighters

2:35 pm on 6 January 2012

Six volunteer firefighters have died battling a blaze in a mountain forest in the south of Chile.

Two others were badly burned in the fire in the Araucania region.

The BBC reports they were part of a team trying to extinguish a blaze near Carahue, about 700km south of Santiago.

They were trapped by flames when the wind suddenly changed direction.

Forest fires have destroyed large areas of central and southern Chile amid strong winds, high temperatures and exceptionally dry conditions over the past week.

President Sebastian Pinera says some appear to have been started deliberately.

Torres del Paine National Park opened again on Wednesday after most of the fires there were brought under control.