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Arrest made in Chile wildfire

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:35 PM EST, Sat December 31, 2011
Smoke billows from a fire raging in the Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile on Wednesday.
Smoke billows from a fire raging in the Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The wildfire has been burning since Tuesday
  • Authorities arrested a 23-year-old man
  • He is accused of starting a fire in a prohibited place
  • More than 27,000 acres have burned

(CNN) -- Chilean authorities on Saturday arrested a 23-year-old man accused of sparking a wildfire that has consumed more than 27,000 acres of a national park, officials said.

The suspect, an Israeli national, is accused of lighting a fire in a prohibited area of the protected Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile, prosecutor Juan Agustin Melendez told reporters.

The prosecutor told CNN Chile that formal charges will be announced Saturday afternoon.

The blaze has been burning since Tuesday.

The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, is also accused of making the situation worse by not reporting to authorities that the fire got out of his control.

High winds stoke the flames for most of the week, though rains in the area Saturday gave firefighters some help.

Four helicopters and 500 firefighters were battling the blaze.

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