Fourth firefighter dies in Chile wildfires

Firefighter dies after getting stuck while trying to help a family escape from their home furing a forest fire near the city of Constitucion (AFP Photo/Martin BERNETTI) (AFP/File)

Santiago (AFP) - A fourth firefighter died Wednesday while battling vast forest blazes in central Chile, the emergency services said.

The man died after getting stuck while trying to help a family escape from their home near the city of Constitucion, a source in the fire service told AFP.

Three others have died and another three were injured fighting the wildfires over the past week, authorities said earlier.

The multiple blazes have ravaged 190,000 hectares (730 square miles), the National Forestry Corporation said in a statement.

Frantic locals have been joining in efforts to tackle the blaze to save their homes, animals and farmland.

President Michelle Bachelet Tuesday ordered extra funds to fight what she called the country's worst forest fires ever.

At least 4,000 people have been evacuated, the National Emergency Office said on Tuesday.

The fires have struck mainly in sparsely populated rural areas in the central regions of O'Higgins and El Maule, where the fourth victim died on Wednesday.

The United States has offered $100,000 for the firefighting effort and France and Mexico have sent personnel to help.

Fires are common in Chile's parched woods during the Southern Hemisphere's summer. Most are caused by human activity.

But this year was considered worse because of a drought attributed by environmentalists to climate change.