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Chile forest fire 'contained but still a threat'

The blaze, which is now contained, was blamed for the death of a woman who had a heart attack. Credit: Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza

A wildfire burning near the Chilean ports of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar has been contained but is still a threat, authorities said.

Up to 7,000 people had been evacuated from the area while the fire raged but now they are beginning to return home.

About 200 firefighters are still trying to control the blaze, which started on Friday afternoon at an illegal dump and was quickly spread by strong winds, leading officials to declare a state of emergency.

Officials said the fire has now been hemmed in, but warned that high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds remained a danger and could rekindle the blaze.

Deputy Interior Minister Mahmud Aleuy said: "The fire is not controlled, but it is contained. What has been done is work to contain so the fire cannot expand."

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Thousands of people evacuated as Chile forest fire rages

Thousands of people have been evacuated from around the Chilean port city of Valparaiso as a forest fire raged out of control, Reuters news agency reported.

At least 4,500 people were being evacuated from Valparaiso and neighbouring Vina del Mar and a state of emergency had been declared.

The fire began in a rubbish dump and spread rapidly as it burnt some 260 hectares. Credit: Reuters
Three firefighters were taken to hospital with injuries after battling the blaze. Credit: Reuters
Firefighters were working to keep the flames from reaching populated areas of Valparaiso. Credit: Reuters
4,500 people were being evacuated from Valparaiso and neighbouring Vina del Mar. Credit: Reuters

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Earthquake rocks Chilean capital Santiago

A strong, magnitude 6.6 earthquake shook buildings in Chile's capital Santiago.

The epicenter was 31 miles north-northeast of the port city of Valparaiso, the US Geological Service said.

There were no reports of casualties or significant damage but local media reported there were power cuts

Observatory captures stunning images of star clusters

The La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured this dramatic image showing two intense star formations in the Milky Way galaxy.

The cluster of stars on the left of the image is known NGC 3603 and is located 20,000 light years away.

Two star formations in the Milky Way captured by the La Silla Observatory in Chile Credit: ESO/G. Beccari

The region of glowing gas clouds on the right of the image appears to be next to the cluster, but is in fact only 9,000 light years away.

The gas clouds have two distinctive curves, like the horns of a ram, caused by "stellar winds from the hot, young stars within the central regions of the nebula, which have blown the dust and gas outwards across a hundred light-years".

The region around the cosmic factory NGC 3603, located about 20,000 light-years away Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

The European Southern Observatory, which is supported by 15 European countries, operates three large observing sites in Chile.

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