Chile continues to battle its worst wildfires

Strong winds are continuing to stoke the flames of raging wildfires in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 800 families in the coastal town of Dichato.

Firefighters and residents fought the fast-spreading blazes on the ground Tuesday, while a Russian supertanker plane and a Brazilian Hercules have dumped thousands of gallons of water on the area 290 miles (470 kilometers) southwest of the Chilean capital.

A Boeing 747-400 supertanker from the United States also assisted local emergency crews Tuesday.

The fires have consumed forests, livestock and entire towns, prompting President Michelle Bachelet to declare a state of emergency, deploy troops and ask for international help.

In all, more than 20,000 people, including firefighters and experts from more than a dozen countries, have battled wildfires that Bachelet has called the worst forest disaster in Chile's history. At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the fires.

The national forestry agency says the blazes have destroyed nearly 904,000 acres (366,000 hectares) since Jan. 15.


In this Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 photo, residents watch nearby wildfires in Portezuelo, Chile. Strong winds have continued to stoke the flames of the raging wildfires in Chile. Firefighters and residents fought the fast-spreading blazes on the ground on Tuesday, while a Russian supertanker plane and a Brazilian Hercules dumped thousands of gallons of water on the area. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 photo, a resident wets down the ground surrounding his home, threatened by a nearby wildfire in Portezuelo, Chile. Residents of some communities have been battling the fires themselves, without any protective gear and often using just branches or bottles of water in a frantic effort to save their homes, pasture and livestock. But those efforts are often undone as winds or smoldering ash spread the fires anew. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 photo, a mare and her foal are led to safety as wildfires burn in Portezuelo, Chile. The fires have consumed forests, livestock and entire towns, leading President Michelle Bachelet to declare a state of emergency, deploy troops and ask for international help. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 photo, wildfires straddle Chile's Dichato community. Strong winds are continuing to stoke the flames of raging wildfires in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 800 families in the coastal town of Dichato. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 photo, a woman closes a gate on her land as wildfires rage on a nearby mountain in Cajon del Maipo, on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. Chile is suffering one of its worst fire disasters in history. The fires have outpaced local ability to put them out, forcing Chile to request international aid. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 photo, firefighters takes a break from digging trenches, as wildfires threaten Florida, a community of Concepcion, Chile. More than 20,000 people, including firefighters and experts from more than a dozen countries, have battled wildfires that President Michelle Bachelet has called the worst forest disaster in Chile's history. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Jan. 21, 2017 photo, wildfires burn in Pumanque, Chile. The ferocity of the flames prompted President Michelle Bachelet's to declare a state of emergency, deploy troops and ask for international help, calling it "the greatest forest disaster" in Chile's history. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 photo, a man battles approaching wildfires in Hualqui, Chile. Firefighters and residents continue to fight the fast-spreading blazes, while a Russian supertanker plane and a Brazilian Hercules have dumped thousands of gallons of water on the area, southwest of the Chilean capital. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 photo, a scarecrow doll stands in a scorched potato field destroyed by wildfires in Florida, Chile. Fires have been raging in central and southern Chile, fanned by strong winds, hot temperatures and a prolonged drought. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 photo, debris is kicked up by a helicopter dumping water on wildfires in Portezuelo, Chile. Firefighters and residents are fighting the fast-spreading blazes on the ground, while a Russian supertanker plane and a Brazilian Hercules have dumped thousands of gallons of water, southwest of the Chilean capital. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 photo, a resident helping firefighters runs with an empty water bucket as they fight wildfires in Paso El Leon, in Concepcion, Chile. Residents of some communities have been battling the fires themselves, without any protective gear and often using just branches or bottles of water in a frantic effort to save their homes, pasture and livestock. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 photo, Claudia Salinas salvages charred coins, which belong to her daughter, as she culls through the remains of their home destroyed by wildfires in Santa Olga, Chile. The flames engulfed the post office, a kindergarten, and about 1,000 homes in the town, located south of the Chilean capital. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

This Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 photo shows a road sign scorched by wildfires in Portezuelo, Chile. More than 20,000 people, including firefighters and experts from more than a dozen countries, continue to battle wildfires that President Michelle Bachelet has called the worst forest disaster in Chile's history. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Jenny Tapia dresses her doll with clothes donated to victims of Chile's raging wildfires, in the community of Santa Olga, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Flames from one of the country's worst wildfires completely consumed the town of Santa Olga. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Scorched trees, vehicles and debris cover the landscape of a sawmill consumed by wildfires in the community Santa Olga, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. The fires have been raging in central and southern Chile, fanned by strong winds, hot temperatures and a prolonged drought. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 photo, resident Javier Pazos takes a break from digging trenches, as wildfires threaten the Florida community of Concepcion, Chile. Residents of some communities have been battling the fires themselves, without any protective gear and often using just branches or bottles of water in a frantic effort to save their homes, pasture and livestock. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

This Saturday, Jan. 21, 2016 photo shows charred bicycles amid debris left from wildfires in Pumanque, Chile. The fires have consumed forests, livestock and entire towns, prompting President Michelle Bachelet to declare a state of emergency, deploy troops and ask for international help. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

In this Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 photo, a couple walks through a neighborhood destroyed by wildfires in Chile's Santa Olga community. Officials say the town was consumed by the country's worst wildfires, engulfing the post office, a kindergarten and hundreds of homes. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

National flags fly over the scorched landscape of Chile's Santa Olga community, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. The national forestry agency says Chile's raging wildfires have destroyed nearly 904,000 acres (366,000 hectares) since Jan. 15. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)


Text from the AP news story, AP PHOTOS: Chile continues to battle its worst wildfires.

Photos by Esteban Felix

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