Chile seeks int'l help to fight sweeping forest fires

STORY: Interior Minister Carolina Toha said the government is asking for support such as firefighting equipment from countries including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, after at least 22 deaths were reported from the devastating fires that have also destroyed some 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) of land.

The government extended an emergency order on Friday, as a scorching summer heatwave complicates efforts to control fires.

In the central city of Purén, resident Carolina Torres told local media she escaped the fire from her home with nothing but the clothes she was now wearing. "There was no time to set up a firebreak, nothing. I think everyone here went through the same situation. The wind speed changed very fast, and everything suddenly started to burn. It was all very fast," Torres said.

National forestry agency CONAF reported on Saturday that 80 of 231 total wildfires are being actively battled, while 151 of them are under control.