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Thousands Evacuate after Deadly Blaze in Chile Port City

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 14, 2015

 Chile declared a state of emergency and precautionary evacuation of up to 16,000 people as a raging forest fire threatened the historic port city of Valparaiso.

 
The inferno began on Friday, 13 March afternoon in an area where illegal garbage was being dumped but spiraled out of control due to warm temperatures and strong winds.
 
The fire started in an area of grassland and pine forest near a major thoroughfare connecting Valparaiso - a UNESCO world heritage site once dubbed "the jewel of the Pacific" - with several villages.
 
"We have taken the decision to declare a state of emergency in Vina del Mar and Valparaiso... and preventive evacuation in a range from 4,000 to 16,000 people, depending on the progress of the fire," said Chile's deputy interior Mahmud Aleuy, according to AFP.
 
Three firefighters were taken to hospital with injuries and one woman died of cardio-respiratory causes, it said. The fire had begun in a rubbish dump and had burnt some 260 hectares.
 
The port city of 270,000 is about 120 kilometres from the capital Santiago.
 

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