Chile’s worst wildfire continues to spread

World Today

People react to the advancement of a forest fire in Hualañe, a community in Concepcion, Chile, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. T (Alejandro Zoñez/Aton via AP) NO PUBLICAR EN CHILE

Chilean officials say that the town of Santa Olga has been consumed in the flames of the country’s worst wildfires, but its 6,000 residents escaped unharmed.

The flames engulfed the post office, a kindergarten, and hundreds of homes Thursday in the town 220 miles (360 kilometers) south of the Chilean capital.

The fast-spreading blazes of recent weeks have destroyed about 385,000 acres of forest and killed seven people. They include a firefighter and two police officers who died Wednesday.

The fires have been fanned by strong winds, hot temperatures and a prolonged drought.

A Boeing 747-400 “Super Tanker” arrived in Chile from the United States Wednesday to help fight the blazes. The world’s largest fire-fighting aircraft can dump nearly 20,000 gallons (73,000 liters) of fire retardant or water.

Story by The Associated Press