Raging forest fire threatens Chilean port cities

A state of emergency has been declared by Chilean authorities after a raging forest fire continues to burn, threatening thousands of people and their homes.

The massive forest fire is threatening the port cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.

So far, about 4,500 people have already been evacuated with another 10,000 waiting on possible evacuation news.

The area is still recovering from an April forest fire last year that destroyed nearly 3,000 homes, killing 15 and injuring more than 500.

The current forest fire was started at an illegal garbage dump on Friday. Strong winds fanned the flames which quickly spread the fire.

Chile’s Emergency Office estimated that about 300 hectares (740 acres) had already been affected within hours of the blaze.

Local emergency crews have been battling throughout the night in an attempt to keep the fire from reaching Valparaiso’s residential districts.

In less than 24-hours of the fire, a 67-year-old woman has died of cardio-respiratory causes while three firefighters have been injured.

Residents living in the poorest areas of Valparaiso live in small wooden huts. It was this same area that was hardest hit during last year’s fire.

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