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VALPARAISO, Chile — Helicopters and airplanes dumped water on wildfires and the smoldering wreckage of hilltop neighborhoods Monday as sailors in riot gear prepared to evacuate 700 more families who would be endangered if the winds turn again.
Already 8,000 people were homeless as wildfires sent burning embers flying from hilltop to hilltop, destroying 2,000 homes in this picturesque coastal city. Smoke rose from smoldering ruins all over the city.
After days without sleep, some people made their way home, only to discover complete ruins. The fires, so hot that they created their own fierce winds, consumed entire neighborhoods in some places. Chile’s forestry agency predicted Monday that the fires won’t be fully extinguished for another 20 days.