Forest fires destroy 1,000 homes in Chile and kill 12
A large forest fire has killed 12 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso.
According to the Associated Press reports, the National Emergency Office of the Interior Ministry (ONEMI) has confirmed 12 people dead but the number is expected to rise.
ONEMI are still working on controlling the situation and the entire city of Valparaiso is without electricity at the moment.
The city’s mayor, Jorge Castro on Chile’s National television said: “This means the flame column is creating a Dante-esque panorama and is advancing in an apparently uncontrollable manner.”
The La Cruz and Las Canas neighbourhoods are among the worst affected areas.
Emergency Official Guillermo de la Mazza told reporters that “the weather is complicating the situation.”
According to ONEMI, strong Pacific coast winds have caused the fire to spread 800 acres forcing more than 5,000 people to evacuate their homes.
Mazza said: “The wind is not doing us any favours. The evacuation is our top priority, along with controlling the fire itself.”
Valparaiso inhabits nearly 270,000 people and draws thousands of foreign and local visitors each year after its historic quarter was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.