Forest fire cuts across vast Chilean national park

AP News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2011 1:21 PM
Forest fire cuts across vast Chilean national park

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera says an out-of-control fire has already burned 32 square miles (8,500 hectares) of a national park in the nation's south, and it has prompted the evacuation of 400 tourists.

The president interrupted a summer vacation to meet with top aides on Friday about how to respond to the conflagration at the Torres del Paine National Park, which receives tens of thousands of foreign visitors each year.

He says "the terrain in the area is extraordinarily rough and that enormously complicates access and work." Gusts as strong as 70 mph (120 kph) also have fanned the fire.