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Thu, 27 Jul 2017
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Earth Changes


Ecological catastrophe: Thousands forced to evacuate as massive wildfires rage across French Riviera and Corsica

© Valery Hache / AFP
People enjoy the beach as they look at a forest fire in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez, on July 25, 2017
Thousands of people including holidaymakers have been evacuated in southern France as massive wildfires rage across the French Riviera and Corsica. Locals and authorities say the areas affected by the fires resemble "apocalyptic scenes."

"The evacuations, at least 10,000, followed the progression of the fire. It's an area that doubles or triples its population in summer," a fire service official told AFP near the Bormes-les-Mimosas commune in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeast France.

Comment: Locals and tourists alike have been forced to camp out on area beaches as the flames rage near St. Tropez. More photos can be found here.

Thousands of tourists were forced onto the beaches last night as wildfires tore along the southern French coast

Firefighters face a daunting task with many hundreds of hectares engulfed by the inferno

Dramatic pictures show the raging inferno tearing through the forest

Huge swathes of land were left a charred wasteland after the fires had passed


Largest active US wildfire burns 250,000 acres in Montana

© Pete McFadden / Reuters
Cattle are seen near the flames of the Lodgepole Complex fire in Garfield County, Montana, U.S. July 21, 2017.
Over 600 firefighters from 34 states have gathered in eastern Montana's Garfield County to help stop the spread of what is now the largest active fire in the US.

On Tuesday, more than 600 firefighters began fighting the raging Lodgepole Complex fire that has destroyed 250,000 acres of range, brush and timber close to the Missouri River, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center, which gives logistical support for wildland firefighting. The fire has ravaged 22 structures, according to Reuters.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock (R) issued a state fire emergency executive order on Sunday for the wildfire that started last week after a lightning strike. Fortunately, the fire was growing Tuesday at slower rate than previously.


Strong shallow 6.1-magnitude earthquake strikes off Okinawa, Japan

An earthquake has struck in the Pacific, off the coast of Japan

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Japan, this morning.

The shaker - which is classed as "strong" - was near the island of Okinawa, which has a population of more than 1.4million.

Almost 16,000 people were killed by an earthquake off Japan's coast in 2011.

The under-sea tremor - which has a similar depth to today's quake - caused a tsunami, which led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.


400-pound pig attacks 3-year-old girl in Lauderdale County, Alabama

Booger the pig attacked a 3-year-old girl in Rogersville.
A 3-year-old in Rogersville is recovering after a massive pig bit off a chunk of her arm. The little girl had to be airlifted to Huntsville Hospital.

"When I came out, the pig had her arm in its mouth and was on top of her," said her mother, Amber White.

White and her 3-year-old daughter, Bella, pointed to where the attack happened outside their home Monday morning off County Road 26 in Lauderdale County. The family said at the time, Bella and her two older brothers were playing in the yard when the neighbor's pet pig named Booger came over.

"I was telling 911 dispatchers that...a 400-pound pig was on my daughter," White said.

A bandage now covers the large wound.

Cloud Precipitation

Major flood damage following heavy local rainshowers in Western Norway

© Runar Sandnes
Large rainfall leads to flooding in Reed in Gloppen municipality in Sogn og Fjordane and several other places in southern Norway.
The storm that hit several places in Norway in night before Monday continues into Tuesday. 50 evacuated in Utvik in Sogn og Fjordane do not know when they will be able to return home.

- The critical phase is over, but there is still high water flow in the rivers in Utvik, says CEO in the West Police District, Odd Arve Solvåg, to NTB.

Several places in Nordfjord in Sogn og Fjordane are hard hit by the rainy weather that started Sunday evening. The showers will continue for several days to come.

- The worst is over, and it becomes ever-decreasing activity by the powerful showers, reassures meteorologist Mariann Foss at the Meteorological Institute.


Man attacked by alligator at retention pond in Charlotte, Florida; 5th attack for the area in 3 weeks

© AP
A man was attacked by an alligator Monday morning at a retention pond at 23970 Suncoast Boulevard near Kings Highway, Charlotte County Fire and EMS said.

The county's EMS office said the 60-plus-year-old man, identified as Frederic Iman, suffered multiple, serious bites, none life-threatening, and was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital as a trauma alert.

The incident happened shortly before 10:30 a.m.

Iman was listed in fair condition at Lee Memorial. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and is investigating.


Elephant 'impaled his handler on the stick he used to control the animal' in Zimbabwe

Happier times: Enock Kafandada, centre, was killed by Mbanje the elephant, left, at Victoria Falls

A elephant is thought to have impaled his handler on the stick he used to control the animal as a safari boss warned it may have harboured a grudge.

Enock Kufandada, 50, was charged, trampled and torn apart by a bull elephant called Mbanje in Zimbabwe before colleagues could come to his aid. They shot the animal dead.

Graphic pictures of his dismembered body seen by MailOnline show an open stab wound in his chest which may have been caused by the stick he was carrying, according to those at the scene.

Clement Mukwasi of the Employers Association of Tourism and Safari Operators hinted elephants can 'keep grudges' for many years against a handler if it has ever been mistreated during the process of training it for tourist rides.


Strange animal behaviour: Killer whale rams boat several times, grabs anchor line and moves vessel around near Sitka, Alaska

© Hunter Littlefield
This Sun., July 23, 2017, photo provided by Victor Littlefield and taken by his son Hunter Littlefield, shows an orca taking off with the anchor line of their fishing boat near Sitka, Alaska.
Victor Littlefield, his 14-year-old son and two of his son's friends were on his 33-foot aluminum boat Sunday as it lay anchored near Little Biorka Island when the boat suddenly lurched violently to one side.

Littlefield's first thought was that he was being attacked by a great white shark.

"I had just watched 'Jaws' the day before," he said.

But it wasn't a shark. It was a killer whale, which had just rammed the side of the boat.

The orca hit the boat several times before it grabbed the anchor line and yanked on it, moving the boat around and then swimming toward the boat and slapping the bow with its tail.

"I was pretty much in shock," Littlefield said. "I couldn't believe it was actually happening."

Littlefield was out fishing with his son Hunter and his two friends when the incident occurred. They had just anchored up and had landed a rockfish.

Arrow Down

Sinkhole partly swallows fire truck in Veracruz, Mexico: 4th for city in a month

It is the fourth this month in the city.
Firefighters in Veracruz were looking for floodwaters after heavy rains but they found a sinkhole instead. Or it found them.

A rear wheel of the tanker truck fell into the hole yesterday morning, stranding the vehicle on Calle Mariano Azuela.

No one was hurt.

A municipal official said work is currently under way in the area to replace water mains.

It is the fourth sinkhole to appear in the streets of the city this month. One swallowed a city transit bus.


79 wildfires sparked by lightning in 24 hours hit Northern California

A lightning map from Blitzortung shows lightning strikes around the west from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.
As hundreds of lightning bolts strike the region, CAL FIRE is staffing its lookout towers and sending planes into the air to scour the region for plumes of smoke signaling fires.

"We're out there scanning the area and any smokes that develop we have our resources that can address it," says Cal Fire spokesperson Scott McLean.

From Monday morning through Tuesday morning, 79 fires were counted in Lassen, Modoc and Siskyou counties by CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service, and lightning was likely the cause of most of them, says McLean.

While the conditions are extreme, it could be a lot worse. "This a combination of dry and wet lightning so we have some moisture follow through," McLean says. "In 2008, there were a lot more fires started by lightning."

In 2008, thousands of lightning strikes resulted in 191,294 acres burning.