Helicopters dropped thousands of gallons of water on the outskirts of the Chilean port city of Valparaiso today to extinguish a fire that has destroyed more than 200 homes.
Dozens of people living in the city’s Rocuant and San Roque hills sifted through the ruins of their homes after strong winds whipped the blaze through their neighbourhoods yesterday. Residents had been evacuated and there were no reports of casualties.
The fire destroyed more than 200 homes and affected more than 1,000 people, Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker said.
Earlier, Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel said authorities believe arson caused the blaze and urged people to report any suspicious activity.
Emergency manager for Valparaíso, said Ezio Passadore, said “We’re not certain, but everything indicates that yesterday’s fire was intentional, and began in an area quite close to the homes,”.
The fire was doused in urban areas but remained “active” in the woods, said Ricardo Toro, head of Chile’s national emergency office.
Many homes in the low-income neighbourhoods where the fire occurred don’t have running water and get their supply from tanker trucks a couple of times a week.
Wildfires have affected parts of Valparaiso several times in the last month as Chile contends with its worst drought on record.
See video of fire: