Thousands return home after fleeing Chile forest fire

Picture released on March 12, 2017 by Aton Chile shows firefighters working to put out a forest fire in Valparaiso.<br />Chilean authorities decreed red alert in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar for several forest fires. / AFP PHOTO / ATON CHILE / Raul ZAMORA / Chile OUT /

Some 6,000 people began returning home Monday after a forest fire forced their evacuation over the weekend, sweeping through central Chile and destroying more than a dozen dwellings, local authorities said.

The blaze began in forested areas of Vina del Mar, a popular resort area in the Valparaiso region, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Santiago, where hundreds of poor families live in illegally-built houses of wood and tin.

According to Ricardo Toro, the director…