Supertanker planes help fight wildfires in Chile as hundreds of families evacuated

Strong winds are continuing to stoke the flames of raging wildfires in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 800 families in the coastal town of Dichato.

Firefighters and residents fought the fast-spreading blazes on the ground on Tuesday, while a Russian supertanker plane and a Brazilian Hercules have dumped thousands of gallons of water on the area.

A Boeing 747-400 supertanker from the United States also assisted local emergency crews on Tuesday.

More than 100 fires have consumed forests, livestock and entire towns, prompting President Michelle Bachelet to declare a state of emergency, deploy troops and ask for international help.

In all, more than 20,000 people, including firefighters and experts from more than a dozen countries, have fought wildfires that Ms Bachelet has called the worst forest disaster in Chile's history.

At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the fires.

The national forestry agency says the blazes have destroyed nearly 904,000 acres since January 15.


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