Aftermath of Chilean Wildfire Seen from Orbit

Valparaiso wildfire scars in Chile
Burn scars from the April 12 fire in Valparaiso, Chile. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon using EO-1 ALI data provided by the NASA EO-1 team. )

A fire that devastated neighborhoods in the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, in April has been extinguished. But the scars remain on the landscape.

The fire broke out on April 12, and smoke from the flames was visible on satellite images by the next morning. It took several days to control the fire, and efforts to fight the flames were stymied by high winds and the steep hillsides around the city. Many of the neighborhoods on these hillsides lacked water connections and passable roads, and power outages during the fire also created challenges for firefighters.

When the flames were finally brought under control, 15 people were dead and more than 3,000 homes were destroyed.

The aftermath of the fire was seen from space on May 4. An instrument on the Earth-Observing-1 satellite captured this view of Valparaiso and its surroundings, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. Large burn scars are seen running down the mountain into the outskirts of the city. These scars cover 2,385 acres (965 hectares), according to Earth Observatory.

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Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.