Air tanker crashes while fighting record wildfires in California

© Donald Talend / AP
Smoke rises from the crash site above Highway 140 near the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite national park in northern California.
An air tanker plane being used to fight a wildfire in Yosemite national park has crashed, killing the pilot, officials for the park and the California forestry and fire department have said.

Emergency workers reached the crash site near the Dog Rock fire on Tuesday evening and found the pilot had been killed, authorities announced. The pilot was yet to be named.

Witnesses saw the plane slam into the wall of a cliff above Highway 140 near the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite on the western edge of the park "and yes, there was a lot of fire", park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.

She said crews were just reaching the site of the wreckage several hours after the accident. There was no word on what caused the crash.

Alyssa Smith, of the California fire service, said the pilot was the only person on board at the time.

Comment: The world is in the grips of some seriously destructive events. For a compilation of the latest round of chaos, check out:

SOTT Earth Changes Video Summary: September 2014

Bizarro Earth

Northern California wildfires claim 100 structures, forcing closure of Interstate 5

A raging wildfire, which erupted Monday afternoon, has damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures and has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Northern California, near Weed. The Boles Fire has scorched 375 acres, and prompted the closure of Interstate 5, according to CalFire.
© @KenBodnar
Twitter user Ken Bodnar:
My wife just got these pics from a friend in #WeedCa of the #BolesFire
Evacuation orders were issued for residents in Weed, Carrick and Lake Shastina, CalFire reported. An evacuation center has been opened at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds in Yreka. Three injuries were reported. As of Tuesday morning, the fire is 20 percent contained.

California firefighters battle out of control wildfire as area withers under triple-digit temperatures

Los Angeles - Hundreds of firefighters spent a second day on Saturday battling a wildfire burning out of control in a national forest southeast of Los Angeles, as the region baked under triple-digit temperatures that prompted authorities to issue a "heat alert."

The so-called Silverado Fire, which broke out in the Cleveland National Forest on Friday morning, had charred some 1,600 acres (647 hectares) by Saturday afternoon as it burned through brush and chaparral left bone dry by California's record drought.

Evacuation orders were issued for more than 200 homes in and around Silverado Canyon as some 740 firefighters worked to gain a measure of control over the flames, assisted by 10 water-dropping helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft, according to the U.S Forest Service fire-tracking website InciWeb.

The heat wave that has sent temperatures soaring over 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in parts of Southern California on Saturday and was not expected to break until late Sunday. The sweltering heat prompted Los Angeles health officials to issue a "heat alert" for this weekend, urging residents to take special precautions.

"Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous and even deadly, but we can protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated," Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the city's interim health director, said in issuing the heat alert.

64,000-acre wildfire threatens Northern California communities

© Karen Crocker Derry via Facebook
Happy Camp Complex
A roughly 64,000-acre wildfire burning along the Northern California-Oregon border for three weeks continues to threaten two communities.

Officials have increased the number of firefighting personnel assigned to the Happy Camp Complex fire by 30% as flames advance in steep terrain, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Comment: See below for a chart of wildfires over the past year, note the unseasonal peak in January ( the vast majority of all reports are from the Northern hemisphere).


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.