Deadly Chilean fire 'contained' but still burning
A massive blaze in the historic Chilean port of Valparaiso that killed 15 people was contained Thursday but workers need several more days to completely extinguish it.
The national forestry agency said it had placed fire barriers around the flames' perimeter and that 12 brigades, 16 helicopters and 11 airplanes were still battling the blaze, which began Saturday.
"The fire is contained, it's no longer advancing," said Sergio Mendoza from the agency's fire division.
"There are still some hotspots, which under a wind, could be reactivated."
More than 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) were burned in the fire, Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo told television channel 24 Horas Wednesday.
Official figures on the number of people affected by the fire are expected out Sunday, but have been estimated at around 12,500.
At least 2,900 homes were destroyed in the flames, particularly in Valparaiso's poorer neighborhoods, perched precariously on the coastal city's tinder-dry hillsides, where dwellings built mostly of wood with tin roofs quickly became engulfed.
The cause of the fire, which began in the hilly woodland area, is still unknown.
The blaze had quickly advanced toward the city's UNESCO-listed historic center, whose steep streets and many colored houses attract thousands of Chilean and international tourists each year.
Its era of glory lasted from the mid-19th to the early 20th century when the city served as a stopover point for ships steaming down South America to come around Chile's southern tip into the Atlantic Ocean.