Wildfire rages in Chilean cities, consumes 500 homes, injures 1

Wildfire in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile
Wildfire in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile

(CNN) — A wildfire in Chile consumed more than 500 homes Saturday and continues to rage in highly populated areas, officials said.

At least one person has been injured in the flames that have swept over at least 660 acres, said Chile’s National Emergency Office (ONEMI).

Strong winds are fanning the flames into Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, two adjacent cities on the Pacific coast, ONEMI said.

Many rows of flames could be seen blazing through houses in the urban area located about 50 miles from the capital city of Santiago.

Firefighters from seven provinces, some in helicopters, are battling the fire, but the wind is hampering their efforts to create firebreaks.

More than 500 homes have been destroyed in Valparaiso alone, the city’s mayor Jorge Castro said. The city is under a red alert, said ONEMI spokesmand Ricardo Toro.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of emergency, which legally allows armed forces to help during the emergency.

It took the fire just six hours to devour the homes. In images broadcast by CNN sister network CNN Chile, residents could be seen fleeing the fires. The network reported that the sweeping fire is endangering thousands of homes.

Authorities have evacuated more than 2,000 residents.

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