12/30/2011 11:01 am ET

Patagonia Forest Fires Close Chile's Torres Del Paine National Park (PHOTOS)

Chilean authorities have closed Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia as a 14,000-acre wildfire continues to burn there.

The park was closed at 8 p.m. Thursday, at least two days after the blaze began, and visitors were evacuated. No visitors are being allowed to enter the park, according to Chilean authorities and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In a statement released Friday morning, the director of Chile's National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry Vicente Núñez characterized the situation as "highly complicated" and claimed strong winds and highly flammable vegetation were making fighting this fire particularly difficult. At least 237 firefighters from various agencies are on site.

The National Office of Emergency reiterated in this morning's statement that hiking routes in the park are closed.

The famed centerpiece of Chile's Patagonia region is a magnet for hikers and other adventure travel enthusiasts.

Chile's Torres del Paine National Park


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