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Thousands evacuated as fire burns 500 homes in Chile

An uncontrollable wildfire in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso destroyed 500 homes and forced the evacuation of 3,000 people as the conflagration burned into the night. Huge tongues of fire engulfing one home after another led President Michelle Bachelet to declare the zone a disaster area late Saturday. Thousands of people, meanwhile, watched from distant vantage points as the hills burned bright red. A dense column of smoke advanced towards Valparaiso's port, one of Chile's largest.

Nova Scotians will no longer need permits to burn domestic brush under changes

SHUBENACADIE, N.S. - People in Nova Scotia will no longer need a permit to burn domestic brush and the province's restricted brush burning season will begin two weeks earlier under changes being implemented this year. Instead of issuing permits, the provincial government will begin posting an online burning restrictions map to inform people when it is safe to burn a pile of brush.

Nova Scotians will no longer need permits to burn domestic brush under changes

SHUBENACADIE, N.S. - People in Nova Scotia will no longer need a permit to burn domestic brush and the province's restricted brush burning season will begin two weeks earlier under changes being implemented this year. Instead of issuing permits, the provincial government will begin posting an online burning restrictions map to inform people when it is safe to burn a pile of brush.

Fire in Italy immigrant housing block kills one

A fire in a Rome apartment building inhabited largely by immigrants killed one and left two people seriously wounded on Friday, including a policeman who had helped in the rescue operation. A charred corpse was pulled from the building and has yet to be identified, fire services said. The 40-year-old policeman and another wounded person were taken to hospital. Firemen said the blaze in the 70-year-old building -- a former student residence -- may have been caused by an exploding gas canister.

Hundreds flee homes as heatwave fans Australia bushfires

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Extreme heat and high winds fanned dozens of bushfires across Australia on Friday, prompting hundreds to flee their homes in some of the worst conditions seen since Black Saturday in 2009. One person died in the Grampians bushland in the southeastern state of Victoria, about 300 km (186 miles) west of Melbourne, where bushfires are burning out of control amid temperatures which have hit above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees F), destroying or damaging houses.

Drunk arrested for trying to douse Arc de Triomphe flame

A drunken man has been arrested for trying to douse the eternal flame at the landmark Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, police said Wednesday. The man parked his car on Tuesday evening near the famed monument on the Champs Elysees, the city's emblematic avenue, and rushed towards the flame with a fire extinguisher in hand. Police said the man, who was drunk, told them he wanted to extinguish the fire. He has been placed in custody.

Firefighters battle blazes in scorching Australia

Lightning strikes ignited more than 250 fires across southeast Australia overnight, officials said Wednesday, as firefighters battled to put out the flames and the country sweltered under a heatwave. In Victoria state, where catastrophic firestorms claimed 173 lives and razed more than 2,000 homes in 2009, efforts focused on containing about 20 blazes. A further 18 fires had already been brought under control or were being mopped up, and officials said no homes were currently under direct threat.

Australia braces for fire danger as heatwave hits

Australian authorities warned Tuesday of some of the worst fire danger since a 2009 inferno which killed 173 people, with most of the continent's southeast sweltering through a major heatwave. Victoria state, where the so-called Black Saturday firestorm flattened entire villages in 2009 and destroyed more than 2,000 homes, was again bracing for extreme fire weather. "These next four days promise to be amongst the most significant that we have faced in Victoria since Black Saturday," said acting state premier Peter Ryan.

Australia braces for fire danger as heatwave hits

Australian authorities warned Tuesday of some of the worst fire danger since a 2009 inferno which killed 173 people, with a major heatwave forecast for most of the continent's southeast. Victoria state, where the so-called Black Saturday firestorm flattened entire villages in 2009 and destroyed more than 2,000 homes, was again bracing for extreme fire weather. "These next four days promise to be amongst the most significant that we have faced in Victoria since Black Saturday," said acting state premier Peter Ryan.

Australian wildfire razes 27 homes, one man dead

A fast-moving wildfire destroyed at least 27 homes in western Australia's Perth, officials said Monday, with one man dying as he prepared for the approaching inferno. The blaze, thought to have been started by a fallen power line in the city's wooded outskirts on Sunday, was fanned by hot, strong gusts that saw 20-metre (66-foot) flames tear through residential streets.
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