Wednesday 25 December 2019

Major forest fires rage in Valparaíso, Chile

Valparaíso wildfire: Raging 
forest fires engulf Chilean 
Houses burn in Valparaíso, Chile. Photo: 24 December 2019
25 December, 2019
At least 120 houses have been destroyed by fast moving forest fires in the Chilean city of Valparaíso, prompting a mass evacuation.
All the city's firefighters have been deployed to tackle the fires in the Rocuant and San Roque areas.
Power was cut to about 90,000 customers in the area as a precautionary measure.
Valparaíso Mayor Jorge Sharp told Canal 24 Horas that the fires had been started "intentionally". There have been no reports of any casualties.
"At the moment, emergency teams from all over Valparaíso are working, using land and air resources, in two areas in the higher part of the city," the mayor said.

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The mayor added that strong winds and high temperatures were exacerbating the situation. Valparaíso is one of Chile's largest cities and a major port on the Pacific.
A firefighters tackles a fire in Valparaíso. Chile. Photo: 24 December 2019Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionValparaíso's firefighters are trying to contain the fires
A helicopter drops water on a forest fire in Valparaíso, Chile. Photo: 24 December 2019Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionFirefighting helicopters have also been deployed
People stand next to their personal belongings in Valparaíso, Chile. Photo: 24 December 2019Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionResidents have desperately tried to salvage their personal belongings in the festive period

Chilean Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker later arrived in the area. He admitted that the firefighters were struggling to contain the fires.

Nearly 120 hectares (445 acres) of grassland have already been ravaged by the fires.

Valparaíso, in central Chile, is a popular tourist destination in South America.

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