Earth ChangesS


Update: Los Angeles Forest Fires Threaten Foothills

LA fire
© Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesLos Angeles County firefighters Kevin Klar, right, and Eric Tucker, center, sat with homeowner Henrik Hairapetian as fire scorched the La Canada Flintridge foothills on Saturday
A wildfire raging in the mountains north of Los Angeles spread rapidly to the northwest and southeast Saturday night into Sunday, consuming thousands of acres of national forest land and threatening at least 10,000 homes in suburban and rural communities in the foothills, the National Forest Service said.

Fueled by high temperatures and low humidity, the fire has more than quadrupled in size since Friday, scorching more than 35,000 acres of underbrush, scrub oak and mature trees and destroying three dozen cabins inside the Angeles National Forest. Much of the area has been fire-free for 50 to 60 years, providing plenty of dead undergrowth to fuel the flames.

"It's a pretty ugly scene out there," Bruce Quintelier, a fire information officer for the United States Forest Service, said in a telephone interview. "It has got a lot to burn."


Update: Fires create another bad-air day in parts of Los Angeles

Parts of L.A. County were dealing with bad air today as a result of the Station fire.

According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the western San Gabriel Valley recorded "very unhealthful" air this morning. Officials expect the air in other areas near the fire zone to become unhealthful as the day progresses.

"Wildfire smoke settled into valleys last night near the fires," the AQMD said in a statement. "Smoke will likely linger in these areas until this afternoon when onshore ocean breezes are expected to move smoke across the valleys and into the mountains."


Grasshoppers Can Transmit Virus To Livestock

© Photo courtesy of Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.orgARS researchers have discovered that grasshoppers can transmit vesicular stomatitis virus from rangeland plants to livestock.
Rangeland plants may be harboring a virus that grasshoppers are transmitting to cattle, horses and other hoofed mammals, according to a published research study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

A recent outbreak of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in the southwest United States has disrupted rodeos and prompted quarantines. VSV is a viral disease that causes sporadic outbreaks in the United States, most recently in 2006.

Bizarro Earth

6.6 Earthquake Jolts Samoa Islands Region

© AFP PhotosAn official monitors a newly-installed seismograph in Legaspi city, Philippines.
A strong earthquake of 6.6 magnitude jolted the Samoa islands region of the Pacific on Sunday, seismologists said, but there were no immediate signs of damage.

The quake struck at 3:51 am local time (1451 GMT) at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres (32 miles), some 175 miles southwest of the capital Apia, the US Geological Survey said.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said no "destructive widespread tsunami threat" existed.

Bizarro Earth

2.8 Earthquake Struck the Snowy Mountains, Lake Eucumbene

The epicentre of the quake, felt at 12.05pm (AEST) today, was at Lake Eucumbene, about 30 kilometres from Cooma and 25 kilometres from Jindabyne.

Its magnitude of 2.8 on the Richter scale was half the intensity of the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, which killed 13 people.

Australian Seismological Centre director Kevin McCue said residents living about five kilometres from the Lake Eucumbene dam reported feeling tremors.

Seismological equipment in Canberra, Queanbeyan and Bombala detected the quake.

"What we are trying to do in determining smaller quakes is find out what faults are active," Mr McCue said.

Mr McCue said a bigger quake could cause structural damage to a dam wall in the area.


Update - California wildfire surges in size, threatens thousands

© AP Photo/Nick UtIn this photo taken from Monterey Park, Calif., smoke billows from a fire in the foothill above La Canada Flintridge, Calif., filling the San Gabriel Valley. Wildfire threatened hundreds of homes in the foothill canyons near Los Angeles.
Los Angeles -- A wildfire in the mountains above Los Angeles has surged in every direction, going in a single day from a modest threat to a danger to some 10,000 homes.

The blaze nearly tripled in size in triple-digit heat Saturday, leaving three people burned, destroying at least three homes and forcing the evacuation of 1,000 homes and an untold number of people.

A slight drop in temperatures and an influx of fire crews from around the state were expected to bring some relief Sunday.

The flames crept down the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains despite mild winds blowing predominantly in the other direction.
Mandatory evacuations were in effect for neighborhoods in Altadena, Glendale, Pasadena, La Crescenta and Big Tujunga Canyon.

No Entry

US: California firefighters wage fierce wildfire battles

© AP Photo/Jason RedmondA firefighter looks on as they battle the Station fire burning in the Angeles National Forest northeast of downtown Los Angeles on Firday, Aug. 28, 2009. The Los Angles Sheriff's Department says a voluntary evacuation is being urged for nearly 900 homes in the La Canada Flintridge area.
A growing wildfire sending massive billows of smoke into the sky north of Los Angeles nearly tripled in size Saturday, knocking out power to homes and prompting evacuations in a number of mountain communities.

Mandatory evacuations were extended Saturday into neighborhoods in the canyons on the northwestern edge of Altadena and Glendale, Forest Service spokeswoman Rachel Mailo said. It was unclear how many residents were ordered to leave.

The flames burned increasingly lower down the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains, threatening more than 2,000 homes in the La Canada Flintridge area. Fire burned right up to houses, but no structures were destroyed. At least 150 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.1 - Offshore Chiapas, Mexico

© US Geological Survey
Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 10:42:52 UTC

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 05:42:52 AM at epicenter

14.872°N, 93.569°W

55 km (34.2 miles)

140 km (85 miles) W of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico

140 km (85 miles) S of Tonala, Chiapas, Mexico

330 km (205 miles) W of GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala

780 km (485 miles) SE of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 3.2 - South Carolina

© US Geological Survey
Summerville -- The U.S. Geological Survey says a small 3.2 magnitude earthquake has been reported in South Carolina near the coast.

Moderate tremors were felt for three to five seconds at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The tremors were followed by a series of weaker vibrations.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported. Some residents experiencing the earthquake reported hearing a loud explosion.

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 5.2 - Off Coast of Oregon

© US Geological Survey
Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 10:11:17 UTC

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 01:11:17 AM at epicenter

43.939°N, 128.464°W

10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

339 km (211 miles) WNW (287°) from Bandon, OR

341 km (212 miles) WNW (283°) from Barview, OR

345 km (214 miles) W (276°) from Winchester Bay, OR

424 km (263 miles) NW (306°) from Crescent City, CA

492 km (306 miles) WSW (251°) from Portland, OR