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    Posted April 13, 2014 by
    Valparaiso, Chile
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wildfires blazing near you

    Fire has been burning for over 24 hours, destroys hundreds of homes in Valparaiso, Chile


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     DanaJLS, an English language teacher living in Chile, first noticed the smoke from the wildfire that swept through the city of Valparaiso on Saturday, April 13, in the late afternoon. CNN has reported that strong winds caused the fire to spread and hindered firefighters' efforts to quell the blaze, which left 12 people dead and at least 2,000 homes destroyed.

    "At the time I was on my way home from a beach several miles away, and I noticed in the distance a large cloud slowly starting to cover more and more of the Valparaiso hills," she said. "By the time I arrived to my apartment about an hour later, I could see the bright orange flames and a lot of smoke through some trees."

    DanaJLS told us that the fire really brought people in the country together. "People are placing signs throughout the city that read 'Fuerza Valparaiso' which translates to 'Valparaiso Strength,'" she said. "I have seen people all over the city with bags of food, water, clothing, shovels" and people "walking around the streets collecting donations for the firemen."
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    A fire that started yesterday afternoon in Valparaiso, Chile has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to evacuate. Relief efforts have gone on all day today while the fire continues to burn through the hills. Since the city is right on the ocean, the high winds have made putting out the fire an extremely difficult task as it moves quickly though the dry terrain. President Bachelet has declared Valparaiso a catastrophe zone. The photos below I took early this afternoon when I went to help with the relief areas in one of the hills that was hit by the fire late last night.
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