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Six firefighters in Chile dead in blaze (VIDEO)

Forest fires raging in Southern Chile have killed 6 firefighters, who were battling a blaze in the mountains.

Chile forest fires 06012012Enlarge
Six firefighters have died fighting a blaze in Southern Chile. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Six firefighters are dead after attempting to fight a blaze in Southern Chile, BBC News reported

The team of firefighters were putting out a blaze in a mountain forest in the Araucania region, south of the capital Santiago, when the winds suddenly changed direction. 

Several other firefighters were badly burned in the fire, and one has been declared missing, according to the BBC. 

Multiple forest fires that are reported to have been started by a negligent Israeli backpacker have destroyed swaths of Central and Southern Chile since they started on Monday. The renowned Torres del Paine National Park reopened on Wednesday after most of the fires there had been controlled, the Associated Press reported. 7 percent of the park had been burned. 

The fires also killed an elderly man who refused to leave his home, the AP reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Fires rage across southern Chile; Israeli backpacker blamed

A heat wave, drought, and high winds are all worsening the fire danger in Chile. The wildfires have burned about 90 square miles of forest, destroyed more than 100 homes, and driven away thousands of tourists, incurring millions of dollars in losses. 

"We have a situation of extreme vulnerability," said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who called for toughening sentences for arson.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/chile/120106/firefighters-dead-chile-forest-fires