Chile: fire ravages 200 houses in a tourist town

A fire that ravaged the heights of the Chilean tourist town of Valparaiso since Tuesday has totally or partially destroyed 200 houses, left nearly 2,000 people without electricity and injured 12 firefighters.
The fire devastated 150 hectares on the hills of Rocuant and San Roque, and 200 homes were “hit by fire” to varying degrees, said Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel. The damage “remains to be assessed” precisely, he added.

“We have made progress in controlling (the fire), however the fire is not under control,” he said.

“The fire is of low intensity,” said the national forest administration on Wednesday.

The fire started Tuesday from pastures and groves, before quickly spreading to houses, made of wood and sheet metal. Faced with its advance, the police, firefighters and the army evacuated dozens of families who were preparing to celebrate Christmas. Some of them spent the night in emergency accommodation.

“Twelve volunteer firefighters were injured, and 1,715 homes remain without electricity in the region,” announced the National Office for Emergency Situations (ONEMI).

Another fire, more limited, affected 9 hectares of vegetation in this area, according to ONEMI.

An investigation was opened into the causes of the two fires, which mobilize 12 firefighting units, soldiers, seven tankers and eleven helicopters, according to ONEMI.

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