At least 100 homes were burnt after a large wildfire broke out on Monday (2 January) evening in the coastal city of Valparaiso in Chile. Around 19 people were injured, with no reports of any deaths, due to the sudden blaze that forced the evacuation of at least 400 people.
The government said dozens of fire brigades from the city and neighbouring areas were deployed to extinguish the forest fire. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire.
Chilean Interior Minister Mahmud Aleuy said that of the 19 injured, 16 were suffering from respiratory issues as huge plumes of smoke engulfed the city following the blaze. He added that the fire also disrupted power supply to about 47,000 customers in the region, but had mostly been restored, Reuters reported.
"This is a high-risk zone and the sector has undergone an evacuation," Aleuy said of the affected areas of Valparaiso, adding: "It (evacuation) has been successful, and fortunately we don't have any tragedies to grieve."
Valparaiso is a scenic port city in Chile with a population of 285,000. It is the centre of a metropolitan area of about one million and the second largest urban district in the country.
Authorities suspect the fire could have spread because of gusty winds and high temperatures. The city witnessed a larger fire in 2014 that killed 13 people and burned 2,000 homes.