High winds propelled a wildfire through parts of Valparaiso, Chile, on April 13, 2014. It quickly became the largest fire in the history of this port city. The fire started in a forested area on April 12 and eventually reached wooden homes built on steep hills around the city. According to news reports, at least 12 people died, 2,000 homes were destroyed, and about 10,000 people evacuated as the fire moved through a section of the historic city.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image of the fire at 11:10 am local time (14:10 UTC) on April 13. Fire detections are outlined in red in the forest south of the city, which is pale gray. A long plume of smoke stretches northwest over the Pacific Ocean, a clear indication that winds were strong and blowing the flames toward the city.
Valparaiso is the third largest city in Chile, with a population of more than 280,000 people. It was established in 1536 and developed into an important international seaport in the 19th century. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- El Mercurio (2014, April 14) Bomberos: “El más grande de Chile en toda la historia.” Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Fox News Latino (2014, April 14) Raging fire in Chile claims at least 12 lives, destroys hundreds of homes. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- NPR News (2014, April 14) For second night, Valparaiso fire spreads misery in Chile. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- UNESCO World Heritage Center Historic quarter of the seaport city of Valparaiso. Accessed April 14, 2014.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.