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  1. #21
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    Mendocino Complex Blaze becomes largest in Californian history...

    Blaze becomes largest in Californian history
    2018-08-08 - California’s biggest wildfire on record yesterday raged as hot and windy conditions challenged thousands of fire crews battling eight major blazes burning out of control across the state.

    The Mendocino Complex on Monday grew to span 114,526 hectares when two wildfires merged at the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said.
    It is the largest of eight major fires burning out of control across California, prompting US President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in the state.
    The size of the fire has surpassed that of last year’s Thomas Fire, which burned 114,078 hectares in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties when it destroyed more than 1,000 structures.
    The Mendocino Complex has burnt 75 homes and forced thousands to be evacuated.



    Crystal Easter, of Spring Valley, comforts her dogs, on Monday in Spring Valley, California, as they flee a wildfire. This is the second time this year Easter has had to evacuate.


    Temperatures could reach 43oC in Northern California over the next few days with gusty winds fanning the flames of the complex, a US National Weather Service meteorologist said. The 3,900 crews battling the Mendocino Complex were on Monday focusing on keeping flames from breaking through fire lines on a ridge above the foothill communities of Nice, Lucerne, Glen Haven and Clearlake Oaks, Cal Fire spokeswoman Tricia Austin said. Elsewhere, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon after a blaze broke out and quickly spread to span 283 hectares. The Carr Fire — which has torched 66,536 hectares in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region north of Sacramento since breaking out on July 23 — was 47 percent contained.



    The Carr Fire has been blamed for seven deaths, including a 21-year-old Pacific Gas and Electric Company lineman Jay Ayeta, whom the company on Sunday said was killed in a vehicle crash as he worked with crews in dangerous terrain. “California wildfires are being magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws, which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized,” Trump wrote on Twitter. A Cal Fire spokesman declined to comment on Trump’s tweet, but said crews did not lack water to fight the flames. Environmental activists and some politicians have said the intensity of the state’s wildfire season could be linked in part to climate change.


    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worl.../08/2003698183

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  3. #22
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    Firefighters race to put out arson fire in California...

    Firefighters race to put out arson fire in California
    Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Aircraft turned hillsides red with retardant as homeowners wet their houses with garden hoses in a battle to contain an arson wildfire that prompted evacuation orders for more than 20,000 people south of Los Angeles.
    California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday night declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as a four-day-old fire carved its way along ridges and hillsides of the Cleveland National Forest. Brown’s proclamation said that thousands of homes were threatened by the fire in the foothills above Lake Elsinore and nearby communities, and ordered state agencies to help local governments. Firefighters planned to work through the night to gain ground against the blaze before the expected return yesterday afternoon of blustery winds that might drive the flames to new ferocity.


    A resident of Holy Jim Canyon in the forest was scheduled for a court hearing yesterday on charges that he deliberately set the fire. Forrest Clark, 51, is charged with arson and other crimes and could face life in prison if convicted. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer. Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Milligan told the Orange County Register newspaper that Clark had a decade-long feud with neighbors and sent him threatening e-mails last week, including one that said, “this place will burn.” Ironically, his cabin was the only one in the canyon to survive the flames, the newspaper reported.



    Resident Moe Blythe, left, on Thursday wears a makeshift mask to protect himself from smoke as he watches the Holy Fire burn near homes in Corona, California. The fire continued to grow amid a heat wave and had burned 4,142 hectares while remaining just 5 percent contained.



    As flames raged closer to foothill homes on Thursday, some residents ignoring evacuation orders stood in driveways or on top of roofs and used garden hoses to wet down their property as smoke billowed around them. Joe Rodriguez, 38, used a power washer on his patio in the McVicker Canyon Park neighborhood. “Until this thing is barking at my door, I’m going to stick with it,” he told the San Bernardino Sun newspaper. Firefighters fought a desperate battle as huge flames came within meters of some homes, feeding on dense, dry chaparral and propelled by 30kph gusts. They want to encircle the fire before it can devour neighborhoods and take lives, as gigantic fires still burning in northern California have done. “Our main focus this afternoon was getting everyone out safely,” said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the crews battling wat has been dubbed the Holy Fire.


    Although the fire — named for the canyon where it started — destroyed a dozen cabins after breaking out on Monday, fire crews were able to prevent further losses, but the fire was still virtually uncontrolled as its growth nullified progress in corralling it. Wind speeds and temperatures dropped as night fell, but gusty winds could pick up again yesterday afternoon, the US National Weather Service warned. Meanwhile, two major wildfires — including one called the Mendocino Complex Fire, which is the largest in California history — were burning more than 160km north of Sacramento. Crews turned a corner and achieved 51 percent containment of the Mendocino Complex — twin fires that are being fought together. The fire destroyed more than 100 homes and has blackened an area about the size of the city of Los Angeles.


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    More than 100 large wildfires in U.S. as new blazes erupt...

    More than 100 large wildfires in U.S. as new blazes erupt
    11 Aug.`18 - Six large new wildfires have erupted in the United States that pushed the number of major active blazes nationwide to over 100, with more expected to break out over the weekend sparked by lightning strikes on bone-dry terrain, authorities said on Saturday.
    More than 30,000 personnel, including firefighters from across the United States and nearly 140 from Australia and New Zealand, were battling the blazes that have consumed more than 1.6 million acres (648,000 hectares), according to the National Interagency Coordination Center. “We are expecting that there will be more fire-starts today,” Jeremy Grams, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, said in an interview on Saturday.


    People near the Glen Ivy Hot Springs resort watch flames from the Holy Fire in Corona, Calif. on Friday. The fire, which has spread to more than 21,000 acres and displaced 20,000 people, was only 29 percent contained Saturday.


    He said dry thunderstorms, which produce lightning but little rain, are expected for parts of the Rocky Mountain region, while the U.S. northwest has critical fire weather conditions that include strong winds and low relative humidity. Firefighters were battling another day of extremely hot temperatures and strong winds on Saturday, the National Interagency Coordination Center said. The fires have scorched states from Washington to New Mexico, with California among the hardest hit.


    A mechanic helping to fight the Carr Fire near Redding in northern California was killed in a car crash on Thursday, the eighth person to die in that conflagration. The 181,000-acre (73,250-hectare) Carr Fire has destroyed nearly 1,100 homes. About 100 miles (160 km) southwest of the Carr Fire, about 3,500 firefighters are battling the Mendocino Complex Fire, which has burned 325,226 acres (131,614 hectares) as of Saturday and was the largest fire on record in California.


    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-wildfires/more-than-100-large-wildfires-in-u-s-as-new-blazes-erupt-idUKKBN1KX00B
    Last edited by waltky; 08-11-2018 at 11:47 PM.

  6. #24
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    Villagers told to GET OUT as forest fires RAGE through Greek island...

    GREECE WILDFIRES: Villagers told to GET OUT as forest fires RAGE through Greek island
    Sun, Aug 12, 2018 - GREEK fire crews have evacuated two villages on an island near Athens as a fire continues to rage through a pine forest, fanned by strong winds.
    The blaze took hold in a dry pine forest in the Dirfyon municipal region at 3.20pm (local time) and isheading towards the evacuated villages, close to Athens. Shocking video footage shows how forest fires have turned the city skyline orange. The fires prompted the mass evacuation of Kontodespoti and Stavros village in central Evia, about 70 km (44 miles) from Athens, which was described as a precaution. Mayor of Dirfia and Messapies, Giorgos Psaras, said: "The fire has a very wide front and is now at a pine forest, moving fast towards Psachna. "Despite constant drops of water by aircraft and helicopters, it has been impossible to check its path."



    Greece fires have caused the evacuation of two villages on the island of Evia



    Greece’s Fire Service says 50 personnel, 21 vehicles, and four firefighting airplanes and helicopters are tacklng the fire to bring it under control. Traffic between the Chalkida highway and North Evia, the island east of Attica, has been halted. Officials have warned the area has low visibility due to the smoke. It comes after wildfires near the capital killed 94 people in July, the country's worst such disaster. Officials say the wildfires are the worst to hit the country since 2007. Witnesses reported seeing corpses, while shocking images have shown burnt-out cars and thick black clouds of smoke. The devasting fires prompted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to replace the Civil Protection Minister and the heads of Fire Brigade and Police.

    Regional Greek authorities also declared a state of emergency in the eastern and western parts of greater Athens as fires fanned by winds raged through pine forests and seaside towns. Buses, water trucks and machinery are being provided to help battle the fires. Mr Tsipras also announced the demolition of thousands of illegal buildings in response to the deaths of dozens of people who were unable to escape a maze of poorly planned streets.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world...s-updates-Evia

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    Fire-Generated Winds Pose Hazards to National Guard Efforts to Fight Wildfires...

    Fire-Generated Winds Pose Hazards to National Guard Efforts to Fight Wildfires
    15 Aug 2018 - The California wildfires can create their own violent weather, hampering firefighting efforts.

    The scope and intensity of the California wildfires can create their own violent wind and weather systems and at times hamper firefighting efforts, California National Guard officials said Wednesday. "They're strong enough to actually pull us down to the ground" if his bucket-carrying helicopter gets too close, Army National Guard Sgt. Julian Ross, a helicopter pilot, said of the downdrafts triggered by fires that have ravaged wide swaths of the state. "There are some dangers," he said, including poor visibility in the towering plumes of smoke coursing up from the forest floor. The phenomenon has been called a "firenado" or "fire whirl," where intense rising heat combines with turbulent winds to create whirling eddies of air and smoke.



    Air National Guard Staff Sgt. James Brown, of the 149th Intelligence Squadron, said the smoke and winds generated by the fires also have occasionally interfered with operations of the Guard's MQ-9 Reaperunmanned aerial vehicle, which has provided vital reconnaissance for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The fires have also affected operations of fixed-wing aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules using Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) to drop water and retardants on the fires, Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy adjutant general of the California Military Department, said in a video briefing from California to the Pentagon. About 2,000 California National Guard personnel have been mobilized thus far for the fires that began in early July; 969 are currently serving for a period of about 30 days, Beevers said. The National Guard personnel were joined earlier this week by about 200 active-duty soldiers from the 14th Engineer Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.





    Army National Guard Specialist Gonzalez mans a checkpoint as the Carr Fire burns in Redding, Calif.






    The JBLM soldiers are engaged in clearing brush and digging trenches in an effort to contain a fire north of San Francisco, known as the Mendocino Complex fire, considered to be the largest in state history. "We don't anticipate calling up additional soldiers and airmen" for the current spate of fires, Beevers said, but noted that the wildfire season began earlier than usual this year. "It's usually later in the summer or early fall," he said, but "for the last four or five years, the fires have been getting bigger and burning more erratically." To combat the fires, the California National Guard is providing nine UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters, one UH-72 Lakotahelicopter, a C-12 Huron, one MQ-9 Reaper, one RC-26 Metroliner, one HH-60 Pave Hawk Rescue/Medical Evacuation Aircraft, and four MAFFS.



    The California National Guard is also providing more than 100 vehicles and military police to aid in traffic control. In Oregon, about 400 National Guard personnel were activated July 20 to aid firefighting efforts in that state. The Oregon National Guard is providing two Chinooks, one HH-60 and one Lakota for air support, 17 Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, 27 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, five dump trucks, eight vans for transportation support, three Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks for logistical support, and personnel to provide traffic assistance.




    https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/08/15/fire-generated-winds-pose-hazards-national-guard-efforts-fight-wildfires.html

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    Wildfire spreads southwest of Berlin...

    Wildfire spreads southwest of Berlin
    Sat, Aug 25, 2018 - Three villages southwest of Berlin have been evacuated as a wildfire the size of 400 soccer fields spread yesterday.
    More than 500 people had to leave their homes as a result of the fire in Treuenbrietzen, about 50km outside of Berlin. “Our main goal is to protect the evacuated villages from the flames,” local lawmaker Christian Stein told the German news agency dpa. “We haven’t been able to push back the fire, but none of the buildings have been damaged,” Stein said. Police said that their plans to extinguish the flames have been complicated by old ammunition from World War II, that was still buried in the forests and which could explode due to the fires.



    Stein said there had already been several detonations and that firefighters were not allowed to enter suspicious areas. Instead, authorities were trying to douse the flames in those areas with firefighting helicopters. The fire started on Thursday afternoon and spread quickly through the dry pine forests. By the evening, authorities had evacuated the villages of Frohnsdorf, Klausdorf and Tiefenbrunnen. “Something like that, we didn’t even experience during the war,” 76-year-old Anita Biedermann told dpa as police told her to grab her jacket, ID and important medication from her home before taking her to a nearby gym for the night.


    Headlights shine on a road in Klausdorf, Germany, as a forest fire burns outside Berlin on Wednesday.



    Overnight, winds blew the smoke to Berlin, where people in some neighborhoods were asked to keep their windows closed. Berlin emergency services received calls from concerned residents. Hundreds of firefighters were on the ground in Treuenbrietzen trying to cut trees to make long swaths in the forests to prevent the fire from spreading further. They were also fighting the flames with helicopters and water cannons.


    Germany has seen a long, hot summer with almost no rain and large parts of the country are on high alert regarding possible wildfires. Raimund Engel, who is in charge of forests in the state of Brandeburg where Treuenbrietzen is, said 400 wildfires have already been reported this year. “I hope the weather will play along and the winds won’t increase again,” Stein said. “We are yearning for rain.”

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worl.../25/2003699185

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    Wildfire southwest of Berlin sets off WWII ammunition still buried in forests...

    Wildfire southwest of Berlin sets off WWII ammunition still buried in forests
    August 24, 2018 -- Firefighters struggled Friday to tame a wildfire southwest of Berlin but had to maneuver carefully as the blaze set off old World War II ammunition that is still buried in the forests around the German capital. Flames forced the evacuation of several nearby villages and sent clouds of acrid smoke toward the German capital.
    The fire, which was the size of 500 soccer fields, has already set off several detonations of old ammunition, according to local lawmaker Christian Stein. Firefighters were not allowed to enter suspicious areas. "The ammunition is very dangerous, because one cannot step on the ground, and therefore one cannot get close to the fire" to extinguish it, Brandenburg state's governor, Dietmar Woidke, told reporters.


    The fire started Thursday afternoon and spread quickly through the dry pine forests in the Treuenbrietzen region, 50 kilometers (30 miles) outside of Berlin in the eastern state of Brandenburg. By evening, authorities had evacuated 500 people from the villages of Frohnsdorf, Klausdorf and Tiefenbrunnen. "Something like that, we didn't even experience during the war," 76-year-old Anita Biedermann told the dpa news agency as police told her to grab her jacket, ID and medication from her home before taking her to a nearby gym for the night.


    Firefighters were trying to douse the flames in areas they could not enter with water-bearing helicopters and water cannons. "The fire continues to be a big threat," Woidke said. "But we will do everything to protect people's property." Overnight, winds blew the smoke to Berlin, where people in some neighborhoods were told to keep their windows closed. In some cases the smell of smoke was so strong that residents called Berlin emergency services. More than 600 firefighters and soldiers were brought in to battle the wildfire, cutting trees to make long firebreaks. Several roads were closed and local trains halted service in the area close to the fire.


    Stein said the fact that the fire broke out in several places simultaneously suggested it could have been arson, but Brandenburg's Interior Ministry said it was still investigating the cause of the fire. Germany has seen a long, hot summer with almost no rain, and large parts of the country are on high alert regarding possible wildfires. Raimund Engel, who is in charge of forests in the state of Brandenburg, said 400 wildfires have already been reported this year. "I hope the weather will play along and the winds won't increase again," Stein said. "We are yearning for rain."


    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wildfir...ts-2018-08-24/

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    Climate Change Fuels California Fires...

    Climate Change Fuels California Fires
    September 12, 2018 — California has experienced record heat waves and catastrophic fires in recent years, and climate experts say it is likely to get worse.

    A report released Aug. 27 by the state of California, the fourth in a series of assessments, puts the blame squarely on climate change. California Gov. Jerry Brown is hosting an international summit, beginning Wednesday, in San Francisco to search for solutions. The worst fires in California’s history came this year and last, with the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire scorching 186,000 hectares. Parts of northern California are still burning. The largest of the fires, in Shasta County, has burned more than 20,000 hectares and is only 5 percent contained.


    Climate research


    The California Climate Change Assessment summarizes current climate research and finds a litany of problems caused by greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, which is emitted by the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. If nothing or little is done, the reports say to expect temperature rises of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.6 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100; a two-thirds decline in water supplies from the mountain snow pack by 2050; a nearly 80 percent increase in the area scorched by fires by the end of the century; and up to two-thirds of Southern California beaches eroding in the same time frame.



    A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif.



    From flooding to a strained electrical grid and premature deaths and illnesses, the list is extensive. “I think we’ve reached the point where the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” said Michael Mann, who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. Mann was not involved in the study, but said he thinks its finding are, if anything, conservative. “We are literally seeing them play out in real time in the form of record heat waves, floods, droughts and wildfires,” he said.



    The Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif.



    The Trump administration, however, has pledged to overturn emissions curbs and has promised to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, an accord of nearly 200 countries that requires national targets for emission cuts but which lacks enforcement powers. President Donald Trump said the pact is ineffective and kills jobs. Climate experts say something must be done to slow the climate shifts that are underway. “A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, so there’s the potential for greater rainfall events, worse flooding,” Mann said. “A warmer atmosphere also dries out the soils, causing drought.” He added, “You’re moving the probability curve, and at the tail of the curve are the extreme weather events.”


    https://www.voanews.com/a/cali-wildf...41.html]Health effects of climate change[/B]

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