VALPARAISO, Chile (AP) — Helicopters and airplanes dumped water on wildfires and the smouldering wreckage of hilltop neighbourhoods around Valparaiso for a third straight day Monday as sailors in riot gear stood ready to evacuate 700 more families whose homes could be lost if the winds shifted.
Already 11,000 people were homeless as wildfires sent burning embers flying from hilltop to hilltop. A 15th body was found, and the toll of destroyed homes rose to more than 2,500. As smoke rose from smouldering ruins all over the picturesque coastal city, many compared the scene to Dante's inferno.
Some people made their way home after days without sleep, only to discover ruins. The fires, so hot they created their own fierce winds, consumed a few entire neighbourhoods. In other districts, some houses stood unscathed but remained in danger from glowing embers carried by the shifting winds.