Helicopters drop water on Chilean city after fire destroys 150 homes | World news

Helicopters dropped water on the outskirts of the Chilean port city of Valparaíso to extinguish a fire that destroyed more than 150 homes on Wednesday.

Dozens of people living in the city’s Rocuant and San Roque hills sifted through the ruins of their homes after the fire, fanned by strong winds, swept through their neighbourhoods on Tuesday. Residents had been evacuated and there were no reports of casualties.

Some 150 homes were destroyed, according to a preliminary count announced by interior minister Gonzalo Blumel said. He said authorities believe arson caused the blaze and urged people to report any suspicious activity.

“We’re not certain, but everything indicates that yesterday’s fire was intentional, and began in an area quite close to the homes,” said Ezio Passadore, emergency manager for Valparaíso.

Many homes in the low-income neighbourhoods where the fire occurred do not have running water and get their supply from tankers a couple of times a week.

Wildfires have affected parts of Valparaíso several times in the past month as Chile contends with its worst drought on record.

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