Chile Says Part Of Big Forest Fire Contained

By Salon Staff

Published January 1, 2012 7:36PM (EST)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile's government says firefighters are making progress against a major blaze in one of the nation's most important national parks.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter says three of the six areas of the fire at the Torres del Paine park in far-southern Chile have been controlled by Sunday. The blaze has burned more 48 square miles (12,500 hectares) since starting Tuesday.

A court has ordered Israeli citizen Rotem Singer to remain in the area while officials determine if he should be charged with negligently setting the blaze by failing to completely extinguish burning trash.

The 23-year-old Singer tells Israeli Army Radio he is innocent. In his words, "It wasn't me. They've placed the blame on me."

Salon Staff

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