12 Dead; 500 Hurt as Fire Rages On in Valparaiso, Chile

For a second day, Chilean firefighters struggle to contain fires that have so far killed 12 people, injured 500, destroyed 2,000 homes and displaced 10,000 people in the port city of Valparaiso in Chile. The fires were initially contained Saturday, but started again Sunday afternoon when strong afternoon winds picked up, threatening more neighborhoods.

A view of the city of Valparaíso - Credit: Claudia via Flickr

A view of the city of Valparaíso before the blaze – Credit: Claudia via Flickr

With multiple factors hampering efforts to extinguish the flames — no municipal water or fire hydrants to use, routes to the blazes blocked by narrow streets jammed with abandoned vehicles and countless embers being stoked — fire fighters could do little but watch neighborhoods being destroyed.

Footage of the fire during the day:


Twenty firefighting aircraft have been mobilized to drop water on hotspots, but Chile’s national emergency office said the battle was far from won. “This won’t be extinguished, not today nor tomorrow,” the office tweeted after issuing a new alert when fires kicked up again Sunday afternoon.

Footage of the fire at night:


The blaze began in a forested ravine next to dilapidated housing on one of Valparaiso’s 42 hilltops, spreading quickly as hot ash rained down over wooden houses and narrow streets. Electricity failed as the fire grew, turning the night sky orange and reducing neighborhoods on six hilltops to ashes. Get the full story here

WeatherBug hopes for a swift end these fires and a speedy recovery. Our hearts and prayers are with those affected.

Stay Safe. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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