Santiago, Europe Brief News – More than 230 wildfires in Chile have destroyed an area larger than the US city of Philadelphia.
The country is in the grip of a heatwave with 30C temperatures and strong winds intensifying the wildfires.
The wildfires blazing caused the government to extend an emergency order to another region.
The scorching summer heat wave complicates efforts to control fires that have claimed at least 23 lives so far.
At least 979 people have been hurt with more than 1,100 people having sought refuge in shelters, according to an official briefing on Saturday.
At least 10 people are feared missing, according to unconfirmed reports, amid concerns the death toll is set to continue rising.
Araucania, just under 140 miles away from Biobio, is now also subject to an emergency order, Chile’s interior ministry announced on Saturday.
Over the past week, fires have burned through an area equivalent to what is usually burned in an entire year, Toha said in a news conference.
As of Saturday morning, there were 251 wildfires raging throughout Chile, 151 of which were under control, according to Chile’s Senapred disaster agency.
“Seventy-six new fires appeared yesterday,” Toha said Saturday.
The minister also suggested the fires should serve as yet another wake-up call about the effects of climate change.