VALPARAISO (Chile): At least 11 people were killed and 500 houses destroyed over the weekend by a fire that ripped through parts of Chilean port city Valparaiso, as authorities evacuated thousands and used aircraft to battle the blaze.
Pushed by strong Pacific coast winds, the fire rampaged over 700 hectares (1,729 acres) of forest and hilly residential neighbourhoods including La Cruz and Las Canas, local authorities said.
Some 1,200 firefighters were battling the blaze, using three planes and four helicopters to drop water on the flames.
The fire started on Saturday, with most of its damage done overnight.
At daybreak on Sunday, Valparaiso was a stench-filled scene of smoke, ash and sirens as residents picked through the remains of their homes and firefighters struggled to put out active points of the blaze that stubbornly remained.
“It is still not completely extinguished,” said local government official Ricardo Bravo.
Weather forecasts called for high temperatures and strong winds on Sunday afternoon, a combination that could exacerbate the disaster if the remaining flames were not put out in time.—Reuters