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Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The World for People who Think



Around 31 grassfires sweep across Victoria, Australia

'We'll see fires move around in the night with levels of intensity and fire behaviour that'll be quite erratic,' Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said

'We'll see fires move around in the night with levels of intensity and fire behaviour that'll be quite erratic,' Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said
Residents near raging fires west of Melbourne have been told it's not safe to leave their homes and to take shelter immediately.

A warning has been issued by the Country Fire Authority said people should stay within their homes as it is 'not safe for you to leave'.

Dramatic video footage shows massive flames and explosions emerging from a substation in Terang, while a grassfire burns out of control in Boorcan, 199km west of Melbourne.

Nearby resident Brett Gasper told the Herald Sun the scene of the fire caused a 'red sky and smell of smoke' which was 'daunting'.

A CFA spokesperson said people had been evacuated from nearby homes.


Border collies run like the wind to restore new life to Chilean forest

Border collies
© Francisca Torres
Border collies Olivia, Summer and Das in the woods on a non-working day.
The worst wildfire season in Chile's history ravaged more than 1.4 million acres early in 2017, destroying nearly 1,500 homes and killing at least 11 people. More than a dozen countries sent fire-fighting specialists to help battle the dozens of destructive blazes. When the fires were finally extinguished, the landscape was a charred wasteland.

A few months later, a unique team was brought in to help restore the damaged ecosystem. They have four legs and a penchant for careening at high speeds through the forest.

Border collies Das, Summer and Olivia were outfitted with special backpacks brimming with seeds. Then they were sent on a mission, let loose to race through the ruined forests. As they bounded and darted, their packs streamed a trickle of seeds. The hope is that these seeds will take root and sprout, bringing the forest slowly back to life one tree at a time.

The job is a serious one, but for the dogs, it's an excuse to have fun, says their owner, Francisca Torres.

Comment: "Border collies are supersmart!" This is a great example of a very smart dog owner giving her working dogs an important task in helping to restore the damaged ecosystem.

Comet 2

Early humans witnessed global cooling, warming, and massive fires from comet debris impacts says major study

global temperatures 20,000 years

Graph of temperature for the last 20,000 years, provided to illustrate this story, but was not part of the original press release.
New research suggests toward end of Ice Age, human beings witnessed fires larger than dinosaur killers

On a ho-hum day some 12,800 years ago, the Earth had emerged from another ice age. Things were warming up, and the glaciers had retreated.

Out of nowhere, the sky was lit with fireballs. This was followed by shock waves.

Fires rushed across the landscape, and dust clogged the sky, cutting off the sunlight. As the climate rapidly cooled, plants died, food sources were snuffed out, and the glaciers advanced again. Ocean currents shifted, setting the climate into a colder, almost "ice age" state that lasted an additional thousand years.

Comment: For more on the events surrounding the Younger Dryas Impact and the very real possibility of it occurring again, see:

Road Cone

California Mudslides, a Sign of Worse to Come?

oprah mudflow

Oprah Winfrey surveys the damage from the mudflow on her property in Montecito, southern California
13 years to the day since the La Conchita landslide killed 10 people following a deluge, the same stretch of southern California between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles was hit with another deluge that produced instant and devastating mudflows. With the area torched by the Thomas Wildfire the preceding month, the heavy rain that fell on 9-10 January produced instant run-off from higher ground that washed away everything in its path, all the way down to the ocean.

As more dead bodies are found in the disaster zone, local authorities have gradually increased the death toll - which currently stands at 20 - while they report that another 8 people remain missing. The surge also injured about 200 people and destroyed or damaged about 500 homes in Montecito, Santa Barbara County - located just a few kilometers from La Conchita - and washed out a 30-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway.

From above, the debris flow appears to have converted the wealthy neighborhood - which is home to mega-stars like Oprah and Ellen - into a brown swamp.

Bizarro Earth

After the flames subside: Hillsides left barren by California wildfires now at risk from mudslides

Thomas fire, California
© Noah Berger/AP
The Thomas fire burns through Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, California
The frightening hiss and crackle of the massive Thomas Fire in Southern California has been replaced by the loud droning of heavy equipment below the burn area.

Public work crews in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties are frantically clearing out every debris basin and storm drain possible, because the fire has left behind another threat -- mudslides.

"The Thomas Fire burned all of our front country range here," said Tom Fayram, Santa Barbara's deputy director of public works."

All these hills normally have a protective cover of chaparral. That's all gone. Almost 100% gone," he said.

What's left is black-gray hillside that officials and residents alike fear will become ashy waves of floodwater with the first rain of a so far bone-dry season.

Arrow Up

Record-breaking natural disasters from around the world in 2017 (PHOTOS)

Hurricane Maria damage
© Carlos Giusti/AP
People walk next to a gas station flooded and damaged by the impact of Hurricane Maria, which hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
2017 was an expensive, deadly year of natural disasters on Earth.

Wildfires relentlessly scorched dry land from California to Portugal. Super-strength hurricanes and tropical storms slammed homes from the Caribbean to Ireland. Famine continued in Somalia and Yemen, while avalanches killed more than a hundred people in Afghanistan.

People around the world recorded record-breaking devastation, much of it caused by higher-than-usual temperatures on land and at sea. Climate experts say that in a warming world, these fatal events will continue to worsen.

A November 2017 report released by the Trump Administration cautioned that "extreme climate events" like heavy rainfall, extreme heatwaves, wildfires, and sea-level rise will all get more severe around the globe, and that some of these events could result in abrupt, irreversible changes to the climate as we know it.

Here's a look at some of the deadly power Mother Nature wielded in 2017:

A trio of super-strong hurricanes pummeled the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast, with each storm causing tens of billions of dollars in damage.

Comment: For more information on extreme weather from around the world, check out our Earth Changes Summaries. The latest video for November 2017:

To understand how and why these extreme weather events are occurring read Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection by Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.


Thomas Fire is now the largest wildfire in California history

Satellite imagery shows the vast Thomas Fire
Satellite imagery shows the vast Thomas Fire, north of Los Angeles, which has spread as far as the Pacific coast
A deadly wildfire which has destroyed more than 700 homes in California is now the largest blaze in the state's recorded history.

The Thomas fire has burned more than 1000sq km - an area greater than New York City, Brussels and Paris combined.

The blaze broke out in Santa Paula in early December and has moved west towards the coast, one of several major fires in California in recent months.

Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to bring it under control.

Most of California's largest wildfires have been recorded this century. Scientists say the warming climate and spread of buildings into wilderness areas have contributed.

The Thomas fire slowly eclipsed previous record-setting blazes, finally overtaking the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.

Comment: Thomas Fire Becomes Third-Largest Ever as California Experiences Another Record-Breaking Wildfire Season
The climate is changing; it is tending towards increasing extremes; and it is becoming more volatile, unpredictable, and expensive to mitigate against. But as I've written about before, people are completely overlooking the likely 'arsonist' behind increased wildfires: an increase in outgassing of methane and other natural gases from below:

The growing threat of underground fires and explosions


Thomas Fire Becomes Third-Largest Ever as California Experiences Another Record-Breaking Wildfire Season

Wildfire in Santa Barbara, California.
© Mike Eliason/AP
Flames from a back firing operation rise behind a home in Santa Barbara, California.
It's still wildfire season in California. If you're wondering when the season ends, it's November 20th, although as you may have noticed, it's still going strong. In fact, for the last decade or so, California's 'new normal' is that wildfires continue erupting for an extra two months, and this year they may burn well past that into February.

New evacuation orders were issued this past weekend in Santa Barbara County, making downtown Santa Barbara a virtual ghost town as the Thomas fire moved closer. Wind gusts of up to 60mph pushed what is now the third-largest wildfire in California's history towards Montecito, the wealthiest city in Santa Barbara County. The rich and famous - like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres - have fled too, but fear not, their homes are less likely to burn because they pay private insurance to hire private 'concierge firefighters' to protect their homes.

Fire officials said Saturday that the Thomas fire, which started December 4, had now burned nearly 105,000 hectares (400 square miles), leaving a footprint larger than those of some cities. The fire is said to be about 40 percent contained, but fire officials added that about 18,000 structures remain threatened, and that high winds could kick up new blazes by flinging embers far from the heart of the inferno.


Eerie light bleeds through California's horizon as smoke engulfs the skies in rare December wildfires ravaging the region (VIDEO)

Eery apocolyptic glow seen on the horizon as Californian skies dimmed by smoke from unusual December fires
This is the stunning 'apocalyptic glow' that has formed over California as authorities battle a wildfire the size of Singapore.

It was filmed in the coastal city of Morro Bay and shows a smoky glow in the skies over the state, which is enduring the fifth biggest fire in its history.
The blaze, which has been named the Thomas Fire, has now burned an area of more than 230,000 acres around 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The clip was posted on Twitter by David R Purl, who wrote: "Apocalyptic smoky glow in Morrow Bay from Thomas Fire 10 Dec 2017. "God bless the Responders!"

Strong wind gusts of up to 40mph and extremely low humidity that is expected through Thursday will continue to pose a challenge to firefighting efforts, the National Weather Service said.

Cloud Grey

Huge, mushroom-shaped 'fire cloud' generates its own weather over Southern California

Professional photographer Greg Vitalich took this photo of the massive imposing smoke generated by the Thomas Fire from his back deck in Newbury Park on Dec. 11, 2017, at 11:45 a.m.
© Greg Vitalich
Professional photographer Greg Vitalich took this photo of the massive imposing smoke generated by the Thomas Fire from his back deck in Newbury Park on Dec. 11, 2017, at 11:45 a.m.
Many were captivated early Sunday afternoon when a massive pyrocumulus cloud, or fire cloud, formed over the Santa Ynez Mountains in Southern California.

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County generated the foreboding mushroom cloud of smoke resembling what you might see above an erupting volcano.

Professional photographer Greg Vitalich of Newbury Park was one of those who caught sight of the otherworldly view of smoke.

"I was leaving the house to go to lunch and I was stopped in my tracks at the sight of that omonious cloud," Vitalich says. "I've grown used to seeing the smoke and the fire from my house in recent days. This was a lot different from what I've seen."