Ten dead as wildfires rage through central Chile

Wildfires have continued to wreak destruction in central and southern Chile.

The series of fast-spreading blazes have so far destroyed 385,000 acres of forest, with rescue efforts hampered by strong winds, hot temperatures and a prolonged drought.

Various towns have been reduced to rubble, including Santa Olga - located 223 miles south of the capital Santiago - where 10 people died.

Interior Minister Mahmud Aleuy said more fires are expected in the coming days with forecasts of low humidity and hotter temperatures expected.

Two firefighters work next to a wall of fire in Chile. Credit: AP

The central regions of O'Higgins and Maule - Chile's top wine-making area - are among those worst hit.

Fires are also raging in south-central Bio Bio and Araucania regions.

President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of emergency earlier this week and thousands of firefighters have been deployed.

Residents in some communities have been battling the fires themselves in a frantic effort to save their homes, pasture and livestock.

A family searches for what's left of their fire-destroyed home in Santa Olga. Credit: AP
The wildfires destroyed these bicycles and property in Pumanque. Credit: AP
A welcome sign stands among the charred remains of Santa Olga, Chile. Credit: AP
Two men comfort each other as they watch their home burn. Credit: AP