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Wed, 28 Jun 2017
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Wildfires


Fire

Wildfire closes interstate highway at Rockledge, Florida

© MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY
Smoke from the fire had authorities eventually shut down north and southbound traffic on I-95 between Fiske and 520 Tuesday morning.
The Tucker Fire, triggered by lightning, burned 1,700 acres of land on St. Johns River Water Management District property.


Fire

Wildfires blazing under extreme heat in Southwestern US

© Utah Fire Info
The Brian Head Fire in Utah
A series of wildfires is blazing across the Southwest as the chance of rain remains low amid a deadly heatwave.

Eighteen large fires are burning in the region, including six in Arizona, three in Utah, three in California, three in New Mexico, two in Nevada and a large one in Oregon. The two biggest wildfires are in southern Arizona and Utah.

Wildfires already have caused far more destruction than usual in the first half of 2017, meteorologist Haley Brink of the CNN Weather Center said. Almost 1 million more acres had burned by Thursday, compared with the 10-year average through June 22.

Fire

2,000 forced to flee as wildfire tears through Spanish national park


The blaze raging through forest land in La Penuela, Huelva, Spain
More than 2,000 people including holidaymakers at a hotel and campsite have been evacuated after a wildfire near a Spanish national park.

Tourists on two campsites in the Mazagon beach town area of Huelva in southwest Spain and a nearby parador hotel were still unable to return this morning as hundreds of firefighters tackled the out-of-control blaze.

Regional governors said around 2,100 people had been asked to leave their homes and holiday accommodation overnight, although guests at one of the hotels affected - the four-star Solvasa Mazagon Aparthotel - were back this morning.

The blaze is being treated as a level 1 - or maximum threat - by emergency services.


Fire

Drone footage shows aftermath of deadly Portugal forest fire which killed at least 62 people (VIDEO)

© Ruptly
Portugal has declared three days of national mourning as the country comes to terms with a devastating fire that swept through the center of the nation, killing at least 62 people and injuring 59 others. This drone footage shows the scale of the devastation:


Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said that many were burned to death in their cars while making desperate attempts to flee.

"This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we cannot remember a tragedy of these proportions," said Valdemar Alves, mayor of Pedrógão Grande. "I am completely stunned by the number of deaths."

The country's prime minister has called it "the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years."

Comment: At least 43 people killed in forest fires in central Portugal


Fire

At least 43 people killed in forest fires in central Portugal

© Getty
A wildfire is reflected in a stream at Penela, Coimbra
At least 43 people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal, many of them trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road.

The deaths happened as blazes rage in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 93 miles north east of Lisbon.

Around 600 firefighters were trying to put out the blazes, which started on Saturday.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said 16 people died in their cars on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera and three died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.

Public broadcaster RTP said there were about 20 injured, including six firefighters. Fourteen of the injured were in a serious condition.


Fire

Study: Wildfires in the U.S. Great Plains have more than tripled in 30 years

© Chris Ray/Texas Highway Patrol via Reuters
Flames are seen along a road in a residential area in Fritch, Tex., in this image taken May 11, 2014. Fritch, located north of Amarillo, is in the southern Great Plains, which stretches into Texas.
The grasslands of U.S. Great Plains have seen one of the sharpest increases in large and dangerous wildfires in the past three decades, with their numbers more than tripling between 1985 and 2014, according to new research.

The new study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that the average number of large Great Plains wildfires each year grew from about 33 to 117 over that time period, even as the area of land burned in these wildfires increased by 400 percent.

"This is undocumented and unexpected for this region," said Victoria Donovan, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. "Most studies do document these shifts in large wildfires in forested areas, and this is one of the first that documents a shift, at this scale, in an area characterized as a grassland."

Donovan published the study with two university colleagues. The research looked at large wildfires, defined as fires around 1,000 acres or more in size.

In other parts of the globe, such as Africa's savannas, grassland fires are extremely common — and that used to be true for the Great Plains as well. But in the past century or more, Donovan explained, wildfire suppression techniques — such as rapidly catching fires and putting them out — had largely eradicated them from the region.

Comment: Another factor for this sharp increase could be outgassing, possibly 'sparked' by an increase in atmospheric electric discharge events, such as lightning strikes and other 'cosmic' ignition sources?

Last year a rare winter wildfire ignited in Alaska, despite a foot of snow on the ground and forest fires broke out in Switzerland (in the dead of winter!)


Fire

'The whole town is burning': Deaths, mass evacuations as fire sweeps Knysna, South Africa

© Simone Terblanche / Reuters
Fires burn at Buffelsvermaak farm near Knysna, South Africa June 7, 2017.
Eight people are dead and 10,000 have fled their homes as an enormous fire sweeps through the town of Knysna, South Africa.

Numerous homes have been gutted by the blaze that started on Tuesday and grew rapidly when a storm passed over the Western Cape town.

Western Cape local government spokesman James-Brent Styan confirmed in a statement that up to 10,000 evacuations had taken place in the town of 77,000 residents.

"The fire in Knysna is the largest and most destructive fire in a built-up area in the Western Cape in recent memory with thousands displaced. It comes on the back of the worst storm seen in the Western Cape in at least 30 years," Styan said.

Comment: More on the unfolding South Africa disaster: Storm wreaks havoc in Cape Town, South Africa


Fire

Three die in raging Siberian wildfires; hundreds of houses burnt down

© Reuters
A cow stands amid houses that burned in wildfires in the Siberian settlement of Strelka, on the bank of the Angara River in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, on Thursday.
Russia on Thursday launched a probe into the deaths of three people in Siberian wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced the authorities to impose a state of emergency.

Two people were found dead in the town of Kansk in Russia's Siberian Krasnoyarsk region, according to investigators in the region, who said a fire spread in the area due to hot weather and strong wind.

The victims, a man and a woman, had been exposed to heat and fire in the town where 52 homes burned down, the Krasnoyarsk branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement, adding that a probe was launched into possible negligence.


Fire

Southern USA wildfires force evacuations & dust storms blanket northern Asia

The worst dust storms in a decade blanket Northern China heading on to Japan and Korea with enough force to make it to the west coast of Canada and the USA. Noticeable is a cyclonic spin that was noticed in the USA super-storm that wiped out 40% of the USA wheat crop.

Wildfires spread from southern Georgia's Okefenokee National wildlife refuge into Florida forcing evacuations of 100,000+ people and burning 400,000 acres. Visible from space it looks like a volcanic eruption.


Sources

Fire

Huge Galway blaze among 30 wildfires raging across Ireland

© Irish Air Corps
Gorse fires in the Ox Mountains in Co Sligo.

Homes in danger of being destroyed if winds change, Coilte chief warns


Fire services are battling over 30 wild fires across the country, with farms and homes in danger of being destroyed.

A huge wild fire in Co Galway, which has a front expanse of 5km, is within 4.5km of houses as Coillte and emergency services battle to bring it under control.

More than 50 people are battling to get the fire under control and are fighting it on three fronts with two under control. However, one front is still burning significantly and the fire is approximately within 4.5km of people's homes.

Mark Carlin, Director of Forest Operations at Coillte told the Sean O'Rourke show on RTE Radio One that the main goal is to protect the wind turbines.

The fire at at Cloosh Valley is threatening to destroy one of Ireland's largest wind farms.

He said that at the moment there is a helicopter helping fight the fire and the team is about to be joined by the Air Corps.


Comment: A couple of months ago wildfires blazed across the West of Ireland.