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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.

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. 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. Credit: REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez

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. Credit: REUTERS/Cesar Pincheira
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. 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.

Wildfire in hills near Los Angeles largely contained

A helicopter drops water as firefighters battle a fast-moving California wildfire on Friday. Credit: REUTERS/Gene Blevins

A wildfire in the hills near Los Angeles was more than 75 percent contained on Sunday, after blackening some 1,900 acres (769 hectares) of drought-parched shrubland and destroying five homes, officials said.

The so-called Colby Fire, which officials said started from a campfire, was expected to be fully contained by Tuesday, said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the Angeles National Forest & Fire Department.

The blaze, centered in the San Gabriel Mountains on territory that is part of the Angeles National Forest, was 78 percent contained, Judy said.

Campers arrested over California wildfires

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of recklessly starting the fast-moving wildfire in California.

The three men arrested on suspicion of recklessly starting the fast-moving California wildfire. Credit: Reuters

Clifford Eugene Henry Jr. 22, Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, were camping in the area.

"Reportedly they set a campfire and were tossing papers into the campfire and a breeze kicked up and set the fire," Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said. "They are being cooperative. I'm told one has made an admission to our detectives and has admitted setting this fire."

California wildfires destroys homes and land

A fast-moving California wildfire forced more than 1,000 people to flee their homes, fire and law enforcement officials said.

A reporter is filmed in front of a blazing building. Credit: Reuters

The fire roared out of control, destroying at least two homes.

The fire forced more than 1,000 residents to flee,. Credit: Reuters

The blaze erupted on Thursday morning in the Angeles National Forest north of Glendora, about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

A man uses a garden hose to protect his home from the fast-moving California wildfire. Credit: Reuters

More than 1,700 acres of vegetation had been blackened by mid-morning in the so-called Colby Fire, Los Angeles County fire officials said.

A helicopter drops water over the flames of the so-called "Colby Fire" in the hills of Glendora, California. Credit: Reuters
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