After months of record high temperatures and prolonged drought, cool air and rain have returned to central Chile, marking the likely end of a historic wildfire season that killed at least 11 people, destroyed more than 1,600 homes and charred more than 1.4 million acres.
Drone footage released by the BBC and satellite images from NASA's Earth Observatory show burnt homes among white, ash-covered soil and a nearly 15-mile-long burn patch through a bright green forest. Some 7,370 people across six states were impacted by the blazes, according to the Chilean National Forest Corporation.
CONAF reported Monday that firefighters had extinguished or brought under control 50 of the country's 56 ongoing fires.
President Michelle Bachelet has called for the country to begin reconstruction of devastated areas.
But as the country begins to survey the damage and erect temporary housing, forestry experts and climate scientists warn that the country must also prepare for a warmer and drier future that could render Chile vulnerable to more frequent, more intense extreme fire events.
CONAF reported that nearly 1.5 million acres have been consumed by wildfires since July - an area nearly 13 times the historical average for a single fire season.
Record shattering temperatures are helping to fuel the blazes. Temperatures for the month of January were 6.1 degrees Fahrenheit above the previous record and the mercury hit 113F in Cauquenes late in the month.
RELATED: Warm Winter Fuels Deadly Southeast Tornadoes
In the O'Higgins region, which lost nearly 150,000 acres of native and planted forest in recent weeks, local CONAF forest engineer Felipe Sandoval said the scale and damage done by the recent fires was unprecedented, though he has seen signals that the climate is changing for many years.
"The impact of climate change here is absolute," Sandoval said. "In the 1980s and 1990s, the region received an average of 600 milliliters of water annually - for the last eight years, we have received just around half, at 300ml."
Juan Boisier, a climate scientist at the University of Chile, said the lack of rain is part of the "Southeast Pacific drying," a phenomenon that stands out as a clear example of extreme precipitation decline. In a study published last year, Boisier and several colleagues found that approximately half of the precipitation decline observed in Chile is due to natural climate variability, while the remaining portion is brought about by anthropogenic climate change.