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Tue, 09 Feb 2016
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Tasmania fighting fire and flood emergencies at the same time

Floods Tasmania
A refuge has been set up at the Triabunna council chambers for those stranded in the area.

The Tasman Highway between Buckland and Orford has been closed due to flooding and landslides, as has the highway a kilometre north of Triabunna.

One holiday-maker, who asked not to be named, said he and his young family were stuck on the other side of the Orford Rivulet, which was now a torrent.

He had been forced to walk into town for supplies, crossing the river via the beach.

"I spoke to the police and they said just to sit tight — the road south is closed and they don't know how long that will be the case for, " he said.

"They told me there was no point trying to get out at his stage."


Dozens of bushfires burn in Tasmania, Australia

© Craig Perkins
Specialist firefighters are being dropped into remote areas like the Lake Mackenzie fires.
Fire authorities have warned significant rainfall is needed to extinguish dozens of blazes burning out of control in remote areas of Tasmania's west and north.

Some of the biggest fires are burning in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), where rare ecosystems are at risk from bushfires.

A total fire ban is still being enforced and recent rainfalls were enough to prevent flare ups but they were not heavy enough to stop the threat.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) chief officer Gavin Freeman said a Lauderdale man had been charged after allegedly lighting a campfire in the state's north-west then leaving the area.

"It's the first time we've had a total fire ban for four days in a row," he said.

"It's been a long weekend for a lot of people.

"But it is frustrating, we've been very clear about the implications of not abiding by the total fire ban.

"We've tried to ease the restrictions as much as we can."

TFS northern regional chief Ian Bounds said crews could not become complacent, despite cooler conditions this week.


Firefighters battle large brush fire in south Wichita; associated with loud, mysterious booms?

© Justin Provence
Brush fire in south Wichita
Wichita firefighters have contained a large brush fire Saturday afternoon on the city's south side.

Crews were called around 3 p.m. to a fire the area of South Hydraulic and the Kansas Turnpike. Dispatchers said they received several reports that the fire was spreading within a row of evergreen trees near a neighborhood.

Crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to any homes and had the fire under control about 30 minutes later. Firefighters remained on scene through the afternoon.

No injuries have been reported.

There's no word yet on what caused the fire.

Fire Wichita

Comment: Interestingly, Witchita experienced mysterious loud explosions on the same day, so perhaps a fragment of an exploding, disintegrating space rock overhead hit the ground and ignited the local vegetation? It does seem highly likely.

See in addition this report: Loud booms, violent home shaking reported in Wichita, Kansas area

Cloud Lightning

Lightning storms spark 50 fires overnight in Tasmania

Lightning has sparked almost 50 fires across Tasmania overnight as authorities start a race to extinguish them before the next wave of hot weather.

A total fire ban was in place for the state's south on Wednesday as temperatures reached more than 35C at several centres, and while there were no significant problems through the day, the storm that followed put crews on high alert.

"Approximately 47 fires started in bushland ... by lightning with very little rain," Tasmania Fire Service deputy chief Jeremy Smith said.

"The majority of these fires are in remote areas and do not present a risk to people or homes."

Many of the fires have burnt out or been extinguished but aircraft continue to search for blazes not already reported, Mr Smith said.

"Some are still burning freely in remote areas and will require careful management over the next few days to ensure they are bought under control before the next hot weather change."

Temperatures are forecast to be near 30C in part of the state on Monday.

Source: AAP

Comment: Remember that crazy wildfire season the US just had? Now Australia is having one


Remember that crazy wildfire season the US just had? Now Australia is having one

2015 was a record hot and fiery year, but it may not get to keep the title for long. While the American West is still reeling from a devastating wildfire season, Australia's pyrotechnic woes are just getting started.

Over the past few years, persistent drought conditions have transformed vast swaths of Southern Australia into a tinderbox. But thanks to an unsavory combination of El Niño and global warming, this year's spring was exceptionally hot and dry. In November, the Australian government issued one of the grimmest fire season outlooks in recent memory, and now, our planet is making good on that prediction.

On January 6, a lightning strike triggered a bushfire in Lane Pool Reserve, located near the city of Perth in Southwest Australia. With plenty of fuel on the ground, the blaze spread rapidly, engulfing the nearby town of Yarloop and destroying at least 128 homes and 41 other structures, according to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. As of yesterday, the fire had burned through a whopping 276 square miles (177,000 acres)—placing it on par with the largest blazes to hit North America this past summer.

In fact, the fire was so vicious that it created its own weather system: a pyrocumulus "fire cloud," captured by the the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on NASA's Suomi NPP satellite on January 7. Pyrocumulus clouds are similar in appearance to other cumulus clouds. The difference, NASA explains, is that the heat forcing air to rise doesn't come from thermal radiation, but from—you guessed it—fire.

Comment: The 2015 wildfire season has already been a record breaker in the United States and Canada. Last year the Amazon jungle was going up in smoke with tens of thousands of wildfires, while in Indonesia wildfires caused a toxic haze which threatened millions in southeast Asia.

A study last year showed that wildfire seasons are more destructive and lasting longer almost everywhere on Earth.

Rather than attributing the dramatic increase in wildfires to "climate change," could a significant factor in the escalation of these events be that they are fueled from outgassing, then possibly 'sparked' by an increase in atmospheric electric discharge events, such as lightning strikes and other 'cosmic' ignition sources?


Wildfires in Canada broke record in 2015

Wildfires scorched a record amount of Canada's national parks last year — the latest in a number of long, hot summers that have almost entirely depleted Parks Canada's firefighting reserve.

"We had a very busy fire year," said director of fire management Jeff Weir. "We had more wildfires than normal and those fires burned larger areas than normal."

The agency's annual fire report recorded 122 wildfires in 2015 that burned through 4,600 square kilometres — seven times the area of the city of Toronto.

The yearly average is 82, and, in 2014, the amount of park land burned in non-prescribed fires was 3,000 square kilometres.

Most of the damage in 2015 occurred in a single park. Fire licked through 3,700 square kilometres of Wood Buffalo on the boundary between Alberta and the Northwest Territories.


Wildfires in U.S. burned record 10 million acres in 2015

© Unknown
For the first time in U.S. history, wildfires charred more than 10 million acres across the nation in 2015, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

That's roughly the size of Connecticut and Massachusetts combined.

At 10,125,149 acres burned, it's the first time the 10 million acre mark has been topped. The previous record was set in 2006 at 9,873,745 acres.

This year's amount is about 4 million more than average, the center announced Tuesday. Fires in Alaska made up about half of the acreage burned.

Nine of the 10 worst years for acres burned have occurred since 2000, center spokesman Randall Eardley said.

Accurate wildfire records go back to 1960. Prior to 2000, the U.S. surpassed 7 million acres only one time — in 1963.


Film shows moment family drive through California wildfire

California wildfire
The terrifying moment a Dutch family drove through a California wildfire has been captured on mobile phone.

Maaike Maks was visiting California from the Netherlands when she and her family were caught driving through the middle of the raging fire in Ventura County.

The fire burned across 1,250 acres in the Solimar Beach area triggering mandatory evacuations and temporarily shutting the highway in both directions.

Footage courtesy of @MaaikeMaks

Comment: See also: Wildfire shuts down Highway 101 and Pacific Coast Highway in California


Wildfire shuts down Highway 101 and Pacific Coast Highway in California

© Ventura Co. Aviation Unit
Sections of California's two scenic coastal routes — Highway 101 and the Pacific Coast Highway — were shut down west of Ventura early Saturday because of a rapidly expanding 1,200-acre wildfire driven by high winds, according to fire officials.

The Solimar Beach area, about 10 miles northwest of Ventura, was under mandatory evacuation orders and authorities also urged residents in nearby beach communities to leave the area, according to Capt. Mike Lindbery of the Ventura County Fire Department.

Authorities said about 30 homes were threatened by the fire, which began around 10:30 p.m.PST Friday.
© Via twitter@LACoFireAirOp
Night brush fire 12/25/15 near Highway 101/Solimar Beach.
The Union Pacific Railroad was also asked to stop train traffic in the area.

The National Weather Service predicted sustained winds over over 60 mph in Ventura County Saturday evening.

Lindbery said that more than 600 firefighters were sent to battle the fire that is feeding off thousands of acres of drought-stricken forest and grasslands.

Comment: A meteor was seen in Nevada and California a few days ago. Is this wildfire connected?

From the article: "The object was also later seen flying across [Ventura] California."

See also: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - November 2015: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


'Out of control' wildfires destroy 103 homes on Christmas Day in Victoria, Australia

Out of control wildfires near the Great Ocean Road destroyed at least 103 homes on Friday, forcing residents to flee nearby towns, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews.

About 85 houses in Wye River and 18 at Separation Creek were engulfed by fire that has burned more than 2,000 hectares in the Australian state, according to the report. Residents and holidaymakers who fled Lorne and Allenvale to go to safer areas were allowed to return earlier today, ABC said.

No casualties have been reported. Cooler weather and heavy rain overnight slowed the spread of the fire though fire fighters warned they have yet to bring the situation under control, the report said.

Australia's hot, dry climate makes wildfires a major risk in the southern hemisphere's summer. In February 2009, bush fires across Victoria state killed 173 people and destroyed 150 homes in the worst blazes in the nation's history. Wildfires in February 2014 destroyed about 20 properties in Victoria, while fires in January of that year burned 52 homes on the eastern fringes of Perth.