Chile forest fire - AFP - 31122011
A massive forest fire rages uncontrolled at the Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonian steppe in southern Chile on Saturday. Photo by AFP
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Chilean officials say they have detained an Israeli tourist suspected of causing a forest fire that has burned more than 42 square miles (11,000 hectares) in the Torres de Paine national park.

Police say that the 23-year-old Israeli has acknowledged a part in negligently allowing the fire to start.

Hundreds of firefighters are fighting the blaze in far-southern Chile. Authorities evacuated 400 tourists, most of them foreigners.

Officials say the fire is likely to continue spreading.

President Sebastian Pinera has declared the region a disaster area and has requested assistance from Argentina, Australia and the United States in battling the fire.

The number of workers tasked with putting out the fire has grown substantially, up to 600 from 120 on Friday.

The fire was first reported Tuesday in the area around Lake Grey. Winds have hindered efforts to put out the flames.

Torres del Paine is one of the country's best-known national parks, with its mountains, lakes, steppe landscapes, woods and glaciers. It is home to the guanaco, the South Andean deer known as huemul and the condor, among other species.

The park stretches across 240,000 hectares on the Argentine border, about 300 kilometers from the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. It is one of the region's main sources of income.