SANTIAGO, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Struggling with an increase in forest fires, Chile's National Forest Corporation (Conaf) has requested international help to control the blazes, media reported Sunday.
The government agency "has asked other countries for aircraft and to keep reinforcing such help until the fires are brought under control and extinguished," the regional director, Luis Carrasco, said.
"We are fighting with all the resources we have in our region, plus the added resources contributed by (national) authorities, and finally more help will be arriving in Chile over this weekend."
A Twin Otter aircraft from Brazil was expected to arrive Sunday.
The country has been battling a 66 percent increase in fires since the Southern Hemisphere summer season began in December, thought to have caused more than 100 million U.S. dollars in property losses.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has said that the amount of hectares of forest lost has increased by 860 percent compared to last year. Last week, authorities declared a red alert in the region of Valparaiso as smoke from the numerous blazes blanketed the centrally-located capital of Santiago.
Pinera blamed the fires on high temperatures, adding that some fires were accidentally or intentionally set, according to the El Mercurio website.
The president said that "the government is doing everything necessary to bring to justice those who are deliberately destroying our forests."