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Chile wildfire: at least 12 dead and 2,000 homes lost

Firefighter work to put out a fire in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago, Chile. Credit: Reuters\Eliseo Fernandez

At least 12 people have been killed and 2,000 homes destroyed by a wild fire that devastated parts of the Chilean port city of Valparasio over the weekend.

Firefighters work to put out a fire in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago, Chile. Credit: Reuters\Eliseo Fernandez

Pushed by strong Pacific coast winds, the fire started on Saturday and rampaged over 700 hectares (1,700 acres) of forest and hilly residential neighborhoods including La Cruz and Las Canas, authorities said.

More: Chilean President declares state of emergency

A resident, whose home was damaged by a major fire, sits in Memory Square in the centre of the fire zone. Credit: Reuters\Lucas Ninno

The Chilean Congress, which is housed in Valparaiso, was spared by the blaze, as was the city's historic quarter with its late 19th century architecture.

Chilean President declares state of emergency

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has declared a state of emergency and sent the army in to maintain order after a wildfire destroyed 500 houses in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso.

Residents of the this morning awoke to stench-filled scene of smoke, ash and sirens. Marines have been patrolling the streets while ambulance crews treat people for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

A man digs through the rubble of a home destroyed by wildfires.
A man digs through the rubble of a home destroyed by wildfires. Credit: REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez

While the blaze inflicting most of the damage overnight, firefighters today continued to try to douse active points of the blaze.

"It is still not completely extinguished," Ricardo Bravo, a local government official said.

Residents survey the damage of the wildfire.
Residents survey the damage of the wildfire. Credit: REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez

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11 lives claimed after fire rips through Chilean port city

At least 11 people have been killed by a wildfire that ripped through residential areas of port city Valparaiso in Chile.

Around 1,200 firefighters have battled the blaze which has burnt through 1,729 acres of forest and homes, using three planes and four helicopters to drop water on the flames.

A wildfire burning in Valparaiso city.
A wildfire burning in Valparaiso city. Credit: REUTERS/Cesar Pincheira
Smoke from a wildfire over Valparaiso city.
Smoke from a wildfire over Valparaiso city. Credit: REUTERS/Cesar Pincheira
People look at smoke from a forest fire in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago.
People look at smoke from a forest fire in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago. Credit: REUTERS/Cesar Pincheira

Two killed in Chile forest fire

A forest fire burns in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago, April 12, 2014. Credit: Reuters\Cesar Pincheira

A huge forest fire raging near the Chilean port of Valparaiso has killed at least two people and destroyed 500 homes, officials have said.

Thousands of people have been evacuated, including more than 200 female inmates at a prison.

Firefighters were having difficulty combating the blaze because of the topography of the city, which is surrounded by dozens of steep hills where most people live.

Residents assess damage following Chile aftershock

Residents on Chile's northern coast spent a second sleepless night outside their homes after a major aftershock rattled an area hit a day earlier by a magnitude-8.2 earthquake that caused six deaths.

State television said the aftershock caused some landslides near Alto Hospicio, a poor area in the hills above Iquique where about 2,500 homes were damaged by the first earthquake.

Fishermen try to salvage their boats in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami Credit: Reuters
A view of a damaged road to Alto Hospicio commune in Chile after an earthquake Credit: Reuters
A resident looks at debris around a home after an earthquake Credit: Reuters

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Chile feels nearly 30 earthquakes in 24 hours

Chile feels nearly 30 earthquakes in 24 hours
Chile feels nearly 30 earthquakes in 24 hours Credit: USGS

There have been around 30 earthquakes and severe aftershocks off the coast of Chile in the past 24 hours maps from the US Geological Survey show.

Yesterday a areas were evacuated when an 8.2 magnitude quake sparked a tsunami alert.

Read more: Tsunami after 8.2 magnitude Chile earthquake

Chile feels nearly 30 earthquakes in 24 hours
Chile feels nearly 30 earthquakes in 24 hours Credit: USGS
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