A state of emergency has been declared by Chilean authorities as a forest fire forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. The fire is threatening the port cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.
It has been reported by the interior ministry that approximately 4,500 people had already left the area and another 10,000 might need to be moved.
The fire began on Friday afternoon at an illegal garbage dump on Friday afternoon and spread quickly due to strong winds.
According to Chile’s Emergency Office it was estimated that about 300 hectares (740 acres) had been affected by late on Friday.
Emergency crews battled through the night to keep the flames from reaching residential districts in Valparaiso. Three firefighters have been injured so far and a 67-year-old woman died of cardio-respiratory causes, the interior ministry said.
Valparaiso is still recovering from a forest fire last April that killed 15 people, injured more than 500 and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes with the poorest areas, often made up of little more than wooden huts, worst hit by the devastating fire. Entire neighbourhoods were razed and many of those who died were found in the burned-down homes they had refused to leave.