Methane gas seeping out of the ground in China

Dangerous: Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into fire
* Nanjiawan village in China has been dubbed the 'Invisible Fire Village'

* Lighting a cigarette or starting electrical equipment can be hazardous

* Locals called in priests at first believing they had been cursed by evil spirits

Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into balls of fire.

The phenomenon is now so common that Nanjiawan village in south-west China has been dubbed the 'Invisible Fire Village'.

Lighting a cigarette or starting electrical equipment can have disastrous consequences.

Massive fires sweep across Siberia, 3.6 thousand hectares destroyed

siberia fires

As many as 896 forest security officers and fire-fighting paratroopers, 139 units of fire trucks and 11 aircrafts were involved in fire-fighting.
Forest fire area has grown sharply by 700 hectares over the past day to reach 3.6 thousand hectares in Siberia.

On Tuesday morning, 60 fires were reported in six regions of the district, the forestry department in the Siberian Federal District said on Tuesday.

The Republic of Tyva (2.4 thousand hectares) and the Republic of Buryatia (0.5 thousand hectares) are affected by fires more than other regions.

Comment: Prepare for the Ice Age: Weather goes crazy in Siberia - with record high temperatures, then July snow and wildfires


Junction fire threatens Oakhurst, California; evacuations ordered

© Ron Orozco / The Fresno Bee
A plume of smoke from a brush fire rises above Oakhurst Monday, August 18, 2014.

A brush fire near Oakhurst has prompted Madera County officials to order 1,562 homes evacuated Monday afternoon as fire crews and emergency workers from throughout the region converge on the foothill community.

The blaze, called the Junction fire, quickly blackened about 300 acres north of the town and is moving east from its starting point near Avenue 425-A and Quail Drive. Spot fires are being reported south of Highway 41 in Oakhurst.

Two structures are confirmed on fire or lost, and 300 homes are threatened. Power was reported out in Oakhurst.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for all businesses and residents along the Highway 41 corridor between Highway 49 and Road 632 (Sky Ranch Road).

Evacuation orders include: Jean Road East and West, Scott Road, and Taylor Mountain (at the end of John West Road).

An evacuation warning has been issued for John West Road subdivision, and Indian Springs, Road 427, Pierce subdivision.

The fire also reportedly jumped Lewis Creek and is moving toward Road 222.

A major concern was the fire inside the Suburban Propane building at 41441 Highway 41, toward the northeast end of the community.

Suburban Propane started as a spot fire when flames jumped Highway 41, he said. The fire got into the attic and fire crews can't stop it without risking significant lives, according to one fire official.

Firefighters are concerned about building and the 30,000-gallon tanks on site. If the fire spreads beyond the building and heads for the tanks, firefighters were ordered to end the fight to save the facility. Evacuations were done a half-mile around Suburban Propane, said Don Stein, the division chief for Madera County Cal Fire.

"We will be in there as long as we can, but firefighter safety is an issue," he said.

Another fire official was heard on a scanner saying, "The tanks are going to do what they are going to do and it's going to be bad."

 Propane in Oakhurst
© The Fresno Bee
Crews work to keep a fire at Suburban Propane in Oakhurst from threatening large propane tanks on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.

One dead and thousands evacuated due to massive forest fire in central Sweden

© European Pressphoto Agency
A helicopter dumping water on the wildfire in the village of Rorbo near Sala, Sweden, Aug. 3. Firefighters believe it will burn for weeks or even months. It is classified as the worst forest fire in Sweden's modern history.
One man appears to have died in a massive forest fire raging in central Sweden, that has so far injured at least one person and prompted the evacuation of around a thousand people, authorities said on Tuesday.

The man in his 30s was found dead on a road north of Stabäck, Västmanland, an area affected by what is said to be Sweden's largest fire in over 40 years, police said. His body was badly burned and unidentifiable, but an identity card found on the body matched that of a man reported missing by relatives.

The fire was declared a national emergency on Monday night and currently engulfs an area of 15,000 hectares northwest of Sala, about 120 kilometers northwest of Stockholm.

Around 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, mostly in smaller isolated areas, and preparations have been made for a possible evacuation of Norberg, a town of some 4,500 people, according to information provided by the county of Västmanland.

Cloud Lightning

Freak California weather: Wildfires, lightning and drought wreak havoc in US state leaving 1 dead

sand fire3
© Max Whittaker
Members of the CAL Fire Vina Helitack crew battle a spot fire as the fast-moving wildfire called "Sand Fire" burns near Plymouth, California
Two wildfires in northern California destroyed 13 homes on the weekend, while one man died after being struck by lightning in the south of the state

Wildfire has ravaged the drought-stricken region of northern California obliterating 13 homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds on the same weekend that thunderstorms and freak lightning swept through the south of the state killing one.

As many as 1,900 fire personnel are battling a raging blaze in the Sierra Navada foothills amid a dangerous combination of high winds and temperatures above 38C.

The sand fire has burned through roughly 3,800 acres or six square miles since it started on Friday, but still threatens at least 515 properties, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) says.

It is now 50 per cent contained - with a fire-fighter sustaining minor injuries - as it continues to rip through the border of Amador and El Dorado counties, five miles north of the city of Plymouth.

Authorities have listed its cause as "vehicle into dry vegetation," leading to a blaze that has also resulted in the destruction of 38 outbuildings.

Around 1,200 flee wildfire in rural California that has destroyed five homes

sand fire

Evacuations: About 700 homes have been evacuated in the area which has burned through five houses and 3,000 acres
A rapidly spreading wildfire in Northern California forced the evacuation of about 700 homes Saturday as it raced through Sierra Nevada foothills turned tinder-dry by drought.

Evacuation orders were expanded in and around the River Pines Estates community in Amador County. Previous orders had covered about 250 homes about 40 miles east of Sacramento.

Since Friday, the so-called Sand Fire has destroyed five homes and seven outbuildings. Many vineyards are in the area but the flames were moving away from them, said Lynn Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

State of emergency in Siberia's largest permafrost region because of wildfires

© Dozhd TV
States of emergency were introduced in areas of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Republic of Buryatia, and three districts of Trans-Baikal region, plus one of the Tyva Republic.
People evacuated after thunderstorms with no rain ignite foliage and forests.

More than one thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the Sakha Republic - also known as Yakutia - which is the largest region of the Russian Federation, while states of emergency are also in effect in other major regions such as Kransnoyarsk and Irkutsk.

Famed for its cold and permafrost, Sakha is now under siege from wildfires.

Vyacheslav Popov, head of the republic's Forestry Department, said: 'The area of wildfires doubled. There are 37 active wildfires in the republic right now covering the territory of 76,000 hectares. There is a threat to eight settlements in five areas of Yakutia''

Comment: See the report below for a possible explanation of what may have ignited these fires -

Colorado firefighters hampered by winds, heat -- and meteors

Bizarro Earth

Out of Control: Washington state wildfire wipes most of a small town off the map - destroying 100 homes

© AP
Charred: The foundation of a home and burned-out cars remain from a wildfire the night before, Friday, July 18, 2014, in Pateros, Washington
A raging wildfire in central Washington has wiped most of a small town off the map - destroying 100 homes as it whips out of control across 260 square miles of dry forest - and fears are now growing that it will claim a second community.

The Carlton Complex fire grew by nearly ten times Friday as four fires horrifically merged into one and exploded across the small village of Pateros, officials said. Residents of the town of Malott and outlying areas of nearby Brewster have been evacuated as flames rages only miles from their homes.

'We basically evacuated the whole town' of Malott, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday night. Those living in outlying areas of Brewster were also told to leave. Malott is home to about 500 people, while the population of Brewster is about 2,400.


Bizarro Earth

Wildfires rage on U.S.West Coast causing evacuations of entire towns

carlton complex wildfires
© AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
A plane drops fire retardant on the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes.

A small north-central Washington town and a nearby hospital threatened by a wind-whipped wildfire have been evacuated, and the blaze has burned at least 35 homes in Okanogan County, the sheriff said.

Sheriff Frank Rogers said late Thursday he's heard of no injuries from the Carlton Complex of wildfires.

The sheriff issued his highest evacuation notice Thursday for Pateros, a town of about 650 people along the Columbia River. Residents drove south to Chelan. A hospital in nearby Brewster was evacuated as a precaution, with the patients sent to Omak.

"The whole town was evacuated," Rogers said in a telephone interview as he drove the eight-mile stretch between Brewster and Pateros. "It was a chaotic mess but we got everybody on the highway."

"There's nobody in Pateros" except a few "stragglers" who stayed, he said, adding the fire was burning in the town, although the small business district was believed intact.

Rogers said perhaps 15-20 homes have burned in Pateros and another 20 homes in the Twisp-Winthrop area. He had no estimate of how many homes have burned in the entire county of about 40,000 people.

Wildfires prompt evacuations in British Columbia and Alberta

An aerial view of the Red Deer Creek wildfire near the B.C./Alberta boundary is shown in a government of British Columbia handout photo.
Aggressive wildfires in British Columbia and Alberta have prompted evacuation orders in both provinces as crews struggle to contain the flames.

A remote Alberta community was ordered to evacuate as a raging wildfire in B.C. approached the border.

A state of local emergency and evacuation order were declared Tuesday evening for the Municipal District of Greenview No. 16.

The evacuation order applies to a remote part of northwestern Alberta south of the Wapiti River, west of Nose Creek and the Two Lakes Road and north of Township 61.

Residents in the area were advised to immediately leave their homes with their personal belongings.