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Thousands evacuated as fire burns 500 homes in Chile

Published on Apr 13, 2014 2:39 PM

SANTIAGO (AFP) - An uncontrollable wildfire in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso destroyed 500 homes and forced the evacuation of 3,000 people as the conflagration burned into the night.

Huge tongues of fire engulfing one home after another led President Michelle Bachelet to declare the zone a disaster area late Saturday.

Thousands of people, meanwhile, watched from distant vantage points as the hills burned bright red.

A dense column of smoke advanced towards Valparaiso's port, one of Chile's largest.

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