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Thousands evacuated as Chile forest fire rages

15 March 2015, 18:44

Santiago - Firefighters in Chile are working to contain a blaze that has forced about 7 000 people to flee their homes near the Pacific coast.

The fire began on Friday afternoon at an illegal dump near the city of Valparaiso. It quickly spread in strong winds and authorities declared a state of emergency.

Thousands have been evacuated from neighbourhoods in Valparaiso and Deputy Interior Secretary Mahmud Aleuy says thousands more might need to leave their homes.

The fire is blamed for causing the death of a woman in her 60s who suffered cardiac arrest. Authorities say 15 firefighters are among 21 people who have been injured.

Valparaiso is known for its colourful, tightly packed neighbourhoods which hug steep hillsides.

Last year, a forest fire there killed 15 people and destroyed nearly 3 000 homes.


- AP

Tags chile fires

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