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Chile battles raging wildfires fueled by heat wave, winds


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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — About 20 wildfires are spreading quickly in Chile's central region, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people, authorities said Friday.

The National Forestry Corporation said the fires had burned through 19,000 hectares (46,949 acres).

Agency head Aaron Cavieres said there had been no injuries, and most of the area affected is grassland. But he said the blazes were nearing a small village about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of the Chilean capital.

The out-of-control fires began last week amid a heat wave. More blazes started in recent days, fueled by unusually hot and dry weather and strong winds.

Chile's meteorology service said the fires were likely to spread to southern Chile next week due to the high temperatures.

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