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At Least 100 Homes Burned as Fire Erupts in Chile


A fire burns houses on a hill, where more than 100 homes were burned due to a forest fire, but there have been no reports of death, local authorities said in Valparaiso, Chile, Jan. 2, 2017.

A large wildfire in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso has torched about 100 houses, injured at least 19 people and forced some 400 people to evacuate their homes.

Officials said the fire broke out Monday afternoon in the Laguna Verde area and spread rapidly through wooden buildings.

Firefighters and other emergency workers worked in the hills to combat the fire, with the help of water-filled airplanes and helicopters.

Firefighting efforts are hampered by winds of up to 30 kilometers per hour, dry conditions and high temperatures. Emergency workers must also contend with numerous ravines, narrow roads and the scarcity of water mains.

A drought in central Chile has caused a record number of forest fires in the last year, dealing a blow to the country's key forestry industry. In 2014, a much larger fire in Valparaiso killed 13 people and burned about 2,000 homes.

Valparaiso is Chile's second largest urban district with a population of 285,000. The picturesque colonial city is home to Chile's national congress and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.