VALPARAISO, Chile (AP) — Sailors in riot gear have been preparing to evacuate hundreds of additional families from their homes in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, where wildfires have destroyed 2,000 homes.
The additional evacuations would be ordered if the winds turn again.
All over the city, smoke is rising from smoldering ruins, as helicopters and airplanes dump water on the wildfires and what's left of burned-out hilltop neighborhoods.
The flames consumed all of the homes in some areas -- in others, a few houses still stand, but they're still in danger with embers glowing in the shifting winds.
Chile's forestry agency predicts that the fires won't be fully extinguished for another 20 days.
Three of the 12 confirmed victims have been identified, including one man who escaped the flames Saturday but died of a heart attack yesterday after returning to find that the flames took everything he had.
036-c-20-(Mike Warren, AP correspondent)-"reluctance to leave"-AP correspondent Mike Warren reports Chilean officials did what they could to get affected residents to evacuate. (14 Apr 2014)
<<CUT *036 (04/14/14)££ 00:20 "reluctance to leave"
037-c-15-(Mike Warren, AP correspondent)-"are densely populated"-AP correspondent Mike Warren reports the Chilean port city may never be the same after the devastation from the spreading wildfire. (14 Apr 2014)
<<CUT *037 (04/14/14)££ 00:15 "are densely populated"
APPHOTO XMEX101: A person tries to extinguish flames as sparks fly during a forest fire in Valparaiso, Chile, early Sunday, April 13, 2014. Authorities say the fires have destroyed hundreds of homes, forced the evacuation of thousands and claimed the lives of at least seven people. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo) (13 Apr 2014)
<<APPHOTO XMEX101 (04/13/14)££