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Tue, 26 Jul 2016
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Fire

Residents begin returning home after 'almost unprecedented' California wildfire

© David McNew/Getty Images
Firefighters are forced to retreat as flame close in on them in Placerita Canyon at the Sand Fire on Sunday Santa Clarita.

The Sand fire has burned about 10,000 acres per day since it began Friday in the hills north of Los Angeles


Thousands of evacuees have been allowed to return home as the nearly 55-square-mile Sand Fire continues to burn in Southern California's Santa Clarita Valley.

Firefighters announced that all evacuated residents would be allowed to return home at 7 p.m. Monday, with the exception of Placerita Canyon Road from Running Horse Lane to Pacy Street and Little Tujunga Canyon Road from the Wildlife Way Station to Sand Canyon Road and Placerita Canyon Road.

Large animals were to be allowed to return as well.

The fire has burned about 10,000 acres per day since it began Friday in the hills north of Los Angeles, growing at a rate firefighters described as "almost unprecedented."

"It has averaged about 10,000 acres per day," said Chief Mike Wakoski, incident commander. "An acre is a football field, so imagine that -- 10,000 football fields per day."

Shifting winds have fanned the flames, which raced through neighborhoods and destroyed homes. One death, a man whose burned body was found in a scorched vehicle, was reported in the fire zone.

"This fire, what we've seen in 72 hours, is almost unprecedented," said Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Dennis Cross. "We'd have to go back a long way to compare a fire to this. And, we're not through with this thing yet."

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes and derails train as station explodes in Chicago


Chicago was battered by the incredible storms
A train derailed off its tracks after an intense and explosive lightning storm unleashed chaos.

Amazing footage has captured the moment a train canopy became engulfed in sparks in an apocalyptic lightning storm.

A train had to be evacuated after several carriages came off the tracks during an intense storm in Chicago on Sunday night.

Car passenger Erin Piotrowski captured the dramatic moment when the train canopy was torn off during the storms and fell onto the tracks, which then exploded into flames.


Attention

Magnitude 6.2 earthquake hits north-central Chile

© USGS
26.106°S 70.646°W - 68.5 km depth
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake has struck Chile's north-central region but authorities say no injuries or damage were reported and discounted the possibility of a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's epicenter was 41 miles west-northwest of Diego de Almagro, Chile and struck Monday at 1:26 p.m. local time.

Chile's emergency services office says no damage to infrastructure was immediately reported and there are no indications of casualties. The navy says no tsunami alert has been issued.

The South American country is highly earthquake-prone. A devastating 8.8-magnitude quake in 2010 and the tsunami it unleashed killed more than 500 people and destroyed 220,000 homes.


Fire

Wildfire grows to more than 10,000 acres in Monterey County, California; 10 wildfires burning in the state

© Cal Fire / California Department Of Forestry And Fire Protection
The Soberanes Fire
A wildfire burning south of Carmel in Monterey County grew to more than 11,000 acres Sunday, as residents were warned to be ready to flee while crews battle the stubborn blaze amid soaring temperatures.

The Soberanes Fire — one of about 10 wildfires burning around the state, including the Sand Fire in Los Angeles County — grew to 11,000 acres by Sunday night and remained only 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Six houses and two outbuildings were destroyed and 1,650 others are threatened by the fire that started Friday morning near Garrapata State Park between Carmel and Big Sur.

Residents in the community of Palo Colorado south of the fire were ordered to evacuate, while other residents, particularly those in Carmel Highlands, were told to get ready to flee in case the fire takes off, Cal Fire officials said.



Eye 2

American surfer attacked by crocodile in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

© Kung_Mangkorn
An American surfer was in serious but stable condition after he was attacked by a large crocodile at a popular tourist beach in Costa Rica on Friday, according to an emergency responder who credited the man's friend for fighting off the reptile with his bare hands.

Pat McNulty, who works as a consultant and is a certified trained lifeguard in Tamarindo, a northwestern town favored by surfers and eco-tourists, said the man was crossing a river with the friend when the crocodile struck.

"It was a vicious attack, and he was bitten several times in the leg as well as the head," McNulty told The Associated Press by phone from Costa Rica.

"They were able to get him free, swim him to safety and then trained lifeguards responded ... and we administered first aid and called an ambulance."

Attention

Man recovering after shark attack in the Bahamas

A well-known restorative dentist in Central Texas, who also has a teaching center in Dallas, is recovering after being attacked by a shark Saturday morning while vacationing with his family in the Bahamas.

Dr. Steve Cutbirth, of Waco, was free diving and spear fishing with his son-in-law and two guides when the attack happened.

In a phone interview, Cutbirth said he had just speared a 10-pound fish and was swimming the fish to the boat when the incident happened.

"Out of nowhere, I felt like I was hit by a freight train in the head," Cutbirth said.

When Cutbirth turned around, he saw the white underside of 6-feet-long bull shark's mouth.

"He kept hitting me, so I started knocking him off with my arm," Cutbirth said. "He finally took off with the fish."

Attention

4 earthquakes strike Hawaii; 3 in the area of Kilauea Volcano

© Dimas Ardian, Getty Images
Four earthquakes hit Hawaii island on Friday and late Thursday, three in the area of Kilauea Volcano.

A fourth quake, at magnitude-4.3, struck the island at 9:16 p.m. Friday. The epicenter was 1.9 miles west-southwest of Honalo, a bit north of Kealakekua Bay, at a depth of 7 miles.

The first, with a magnitude of 2.5, hit 3.7 miles southwest of Volcano at a depth of 1.9 miles. It happened at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The second, magnitude-2.7, had an epicenter 9 miles southeast of Volcano. It struck at 11:18 a.m. Friday at a depth of 3.3 miles.

The third, magnitude-3, struck at 12:14 p.m. 6 miles southeast of Leilani Estates, in the ocean south of Cape Kumukahi. The depth of the epicenter was 20 miles.

Attention

6.1 earthquake strikes off southern Australia

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake has struck near Australia, according to Geoscience Australia.
Mag 6.1 Western Indian Antarctic Ridge, 25 July 2016, 18:58 (AEST). Lat/Long 49.36S, 126.0E. Depth 15km. Info is preliminary.
— EarthquakesGA (@EarthquakesGA) July 25, 2016
It was previously reported that the earthquake was "potentially tsunamigenic," meaning it could cause a tsunami. However, that information has since been retracted.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has put the quake at a 5.9, with a depth of 10km (6.2 miles).

Bizarro Earth

2nd earthquake in 3 days rattles parts of North Carolina


The location of the earthquakes on a map from the US Geological Survey. The one on the left (furthest west) happened Thursday, while the other quake hit Saturday night.
An earthquake shook parts of North Carolina near the Virginia border in Wilkes County on Saturday night.

The 2.4 magnitude quake hit around 9:50 p.m. and was at a depth of 5.1 kilometers, according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake on Saturday night happened just two days after 1.9 magnitude earthquake struck Thursday at Plumtree, N.C. in Avery County — about 60 miles west-southwest of the Saturday quake.

The Saturday night quake was right along US 421 and was closest to Millers Creek, N.C. — which was 3 miles from the center.

There were no reports of damage.

The quake was also about 4 miles west of Wilkesboro and north of W. Kerr Scott Lake.

Fire

Out-of-control California wildfire grows to more than 33,000 acres in Santa Clarita Valley

© YouTube/Associated Press (screen capture)
The brush fire raging in the rugged mountains of the Santa Clarita Valley grew by more than 10,000 acres on Sunday, scorching an estimated 33,172 acres by the late evening as the blaze continued to threaten hundreds of homes while firefighters battled to keep flames from spreading, authorities said.

Fueled by 20-mph winds and hillsides carpeted with tinder-like chaparral, the wildfire was burning in hills toward Acton by late Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of residents were ordered to evacuate.

Mandatory evacuations were still in place Sunday for about 1,500 residents in parts of Sand and Placerita canyons, as well as for others along Little Tujunga Canyon Road.

So far, at least 18 structures have been destroyed and one damaged in the Bear Divide and Sand Canyon areas, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. One fatality has been reported, but it is not yet clear if it is fire-related.

The 14 Freeway in the Santa Clarita Valley was closed in both directions late Sunday afternoon but was later reopened.

At least one drone was spotted over the fire near the Bear Divide area, about 2,000 feet above Lake View Terrace, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The sighting of a drone over a wildfire typically prompts officials to ground aircraft for 30 minutes. The Forest Service said that those caught flying private aircraft or drones could face criminal charges.