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Fri, 23 Jul 2021
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Fire

Wildfire smoke now covers much of the United States

The AirNow fire and smoke map shows a film of gray wildfire smoke across most of the US on July 20, 2021.
© AirNow
The AirNow fire and smoke map shows a film of gray wildfire smoke across most of the US on July 20, 2021.
The lower 48 is largely blanketed by hazy, smoke-filled skies as wildfires rage on.

I've been noticing strange sunsets lately in New Mexico where the sun looks like a molten ball of red as it sinks into the west. It's one symptom of wildfire smoke in the sky and a sign of another brutal wildfire season in the US.

The National Weather Service office in Aberdeen, South Dakota, tweeted on Tuesday: "You've probably noticed the persistent hazy skies as of late. Turns out we're not the only ones seeing this -- smoke from wildfires is covering much of the lower 48."

Besides apocalyptic-looking sunsets and orange skies, wildfire smoke can impact air quality far from where a fire is actually located. The wildfires, many of which are burning in the western US, have been fed by severe drought conditions and heat waves. These events have been exacerbated by the climate crisis and the extreme weather it brings with it.

The National Weather Service shared a fire and smoke map from the AirNow air quality monitoring site. What's notable are the wide swaths of gray indicating smoke coverage over the US and Canada, as well as the many marked wildfire locations, denoted by the orange fire icons.


Fire

'Climate change is happening': As wildfires destroy hectares of Siberian forest, local politician points finger at global warming

wildfire Russia's Yakutia region
The wildfires in Russia's Yakutia region are caused by climate change, which has led to abnormally hot weather and 'dry thunderstorms.' That's according to Aysen Nikolayev, the head of the vast republic located in eastern Siberia.

Speaking to the local TV Channel Yakutia-24, Nikolayev noted that the region's average temperature in June was 20C - far higher than it should be. His statement comes as many Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, have upped their rhetoric on fighting global warming in recent months.

"Global climate change is happening," the head explained. "This year is the driest and hottest summer that Yakutia has had in the history of meteorological observations since the end of the 19th century. This is the data of the meteorological service, which can't be refuted."

Comment: See also:


Fire

Canada's B.C. declares provincial state of emergency due to wildfires

Smoke billows from a wildfire near Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada
© Twitter @DylanGaleas via Reuters
Smoke billows from a wildfire near Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada July 19, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media
British Columbia is once again under a provincial state of emergency.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon in response to ongoing wildfires burning across the province.

It will take effect at midnight, Tuesday, July 20.

The forecast in parts of the province calls for shifts in winds and weather, raising concerns that property evacuations could rise to a level not yet seen this fire season, the government said.

The province previously declared states of emergencies linked to fires in 2003, 2017 and 2018.

On July 1, 2021, B.C. concluded a 16-month state of emergency, by far the longest in the province's history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days once issued and may be extended or rescinded as necessary.

Fire

Siberian wildfires spread 17.5% in 24 hours

The fires have been fueled by abnormally high temperatures, historic drought and strong winds.
© Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service / TASS
The fires have been fueled by abnormally high temperatures, historic drought and strong winds.
Wildfires ravaging northeastern Siberia have spread by nearly 70,000 hectares in the past day, marking a 17.5% increase in a single day, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday, citing the regional emergencies ministry.

Some 400,000 hectares of forest are now burning in Russia's republic of Sakha.

Abnormally high temperatures and historic drought as well as strong winds have all contributed to the rapid wildfire spread, Sakha's deputy ecology minister and chief forester Sergei Sivtsev told Kommersant.

"For the central regions of the republic, June 2021 became the second driest in the entire history of observations; the last time such a drought was observed was at the end of the 19th century, in 1888," Sivtsev told Kommersant.


Fire

Wildfires torch homes, land across 10 states in US West

A truck driver who hauls fire equipment watches as the Sugar fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex fire, burns in Doyle, California, on Saturday.
© Noah Berger/AP
A truck driver who hauls fire equipment watches as the Sugar fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex fire, burns in Doyle, California, on Saturday.
Wildfires that torched homes and forced thousands to evacuate burned across 10 parched Western states on Tuesday, and the largest, in Oregon, threatened a portion of California's power supply.

Nearly 60 wildfires tore through bone-dry timber and brush from Alaska to Wyoming, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Arizona, Idaho and Montana accounted for more than half of the large active fires.

The fires erupted as the West was in the grip of the second bout of dangerously high temperatures in just a few weeks. A climate change-fueled megadrought also is contributing to conditions that make fires even more dangerous, scientists say.

The National Weather Service said the heat wave had peaked in many areas, and remaining excessive heat warnings were expected to expire by Tuesday night.


Fire

California wildfire advances as heat wave stifles US West

california wildfire july 2021
© AP Photo/Noah Berger
Firefighters battle the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, in Doyle, Calif., on Friday, July 9, 2021.
Firefighters struggled to contain an exploding Northern California wildfire under blazing temperatures as another heat wave hits the U.S. West this weekend, prompting an excessive heat warning for inland and desert areas.

On Friday, Death Valley National Park in California recorded a staggering high of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 Celsius) and could reach the same high on Saturday. If verified, the 130-degree reading would be the hottest high recorded there since July 1913, when the same Furnace Creek desert area hit 134 F (57 C), considered the highest reliably measured temperature on Earth.

The Beckwourth Complex — a merging of two lightning-caused fires — headed into Saturday showing no sign of slowing its rush northeast from the Sierra Nevada forest region after doubling in size only a few days earlier.

Fire

Devastating forest fire in Cyprus leaves 4 dead

Cyprus wildfire
© REUTERS/George Christophorou
A general view of a wildfire in the Larnaca mountain region, Cyprus July 3, 2021. Picture taken July 3, 2021.
Four people were found dead on Sunday as a huge fire raged for a second day in Cyprus, razing tracts of forest and gutting dozens of homes in a blaze one official called the worst on record.

The blaze, fanned by strong winds, affected at least 10 communities over an area exceeding 50 square kilometres (19 square miles) in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range, an area of pine forest and densely vegetated shrubland.

"Its one of the most destructive (fires) we have experienced, unfortunately, with victims," Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters from the area. The state would stand by and support all those affected, he said.


Comment: See also: Hell on the Road of Bones: Wildfires in Russia's Far East engulf highway known worldwide for danger & extremely cold temperatures

And check out SOTTs monthly Earth Changes Summary: June 2021: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs




Fire

"The whole town is on fire": Wildfire amid record heat wave forces entire Canadian village to evacuate - spark from train suspected

Lytton canada wildfire
© 2 Rivers Remix Society
Lytton, located in southern British Columbia, Canada, was engulfed in flames within a matter of minutes
A wildfire amid a record heat wave in western Canada has forced authorities to order residents to evacuate a village in British Columbia that smashed the country's record for hottest temperature three days in a row this week. Mayor Jan Polderman of Lytton issued the evacuation order Wednesday, saying on Twitter that the fire was threatening structures and the safety of residents of the community, which is 95 miles northeast of Vancouver.

"All residents are advised to leave the community and go to a safe location,″ Polderman said.

Comment: More from RT:
sparks lakes wildfire canada british columbia
© AFP / BC Wildfire Service
Sparks Lake wildfire, British Columbia, seen from the air on June 29, 2021
The province's wildfire service said it had responded to the blaze in Lytton and confirmed on Thursday that there were four general clusters of multiple wildfires across British Columbia.

"Ground crews, helicopters, air tankers, members from volunteer fire departments, and heavy equipment have responded and will continue to do so over the coming days," it said in a statement.

Before the scenes in Lytton, at least three major wildfires were burning in British Columbia, with 26 blazes having started between Tuesday and Wednesday alone.
There is speculation the fire was sparked by a CN train passing through the tinder-dry area:
CN Rail is "evaluating" the status of its train traffic through the bone-dry B.C. Interior after a fast-moving fire on Wednesday destroyed much of the Village of Lytton — a blaze thought to have been sparked by a passing train.

The fire in Lytton is believed to have began at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Based on accounts from those in the village at the time, it moved quickly. Some estimates on Thursday have said as much as 90 per cent of the village was burned.

Global BC is reporting investigators believe the fire was sparked by a passing train, citing sources at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Castanet reached out to both major Canadian railways, each of which run through Lytton, for comment and asked whether any thought is being given to stopping trains until conditions in the Interior improve.

"Pertaining to the impact on our operation, we are evaluating this, but our focus now being the safety and support of the community," CN spokesman Mathieu Gaudreault said in a statement.

According to Gaudreault, CN finds the Lytton blaze "deeply distressing" and very concerning.

"We have reached out to local elected officials to offer our assistance," he said.

"We want to offer our support to the people of the First Nation of Lytton and we are committed in assisting this community during this tragic event."

A CP Rail spokesman said his railway was focusing on helping in any way it can in the aftermath of the Lytton fire.

"Our focus is on assisting emergency response operations in the town of Lytton," Andy Cummings told Castanet via email.



Fire

Hell on the Road of Bones: Wildfires in Russia's Far East engulf highway known worldwide for danger & extremely cold temperatures

Fire in Russia
© RT video screenshot
The notorious Road of Bones in Russia's Far East has been cut off by hellish wildfires as forests lining the famous and dangerous route burn in the summer heat. Approximately 40 kilometers of the highway are inaccessible.

Videos posted online show how the road is covered in flames, with smoke causing very limited visibility. Earlier in the week, local authorities revealed that they would artificially induce rain to fight against the wildfires. Around 69,000 hectares of wild land were reported to be ablaze.

Constructed during the Soviet era, the Road of Bones was built using forced Gulag labor, and its construction caused the deaths of thousands of prisoners. It is the only road connecting much of the region.

The section engulfed in flames is in Yakutia's Tattinsky district, a five-hour drive east from the region's capital Yakutsk.

Comment: See also:


Fire

Wildfires explode in the US West: At least 50 wildfires burn

An image made from video shows the Sylvan Fire burning in Eagle County, Colo., on June 22, 2021.
© Jonathan McNally
An image made from video shows the Sylvan Fire burning in Eagle County, Colo., on June 22, 2021.
As of Wednesday, more than half a million acres have burned across 11 states.

There were at least 50 large wildfires burning more than half a million acres across 11 states on Wednesday -- mostly in the West.

In Colorado, the Oil Spring and Sylvan fires in White River National Forest are the two biggest fires in the state. Firefighters are battling hot, dry and windy conditions.

Since the fire broke out on Monday, the Sylvan Fire has destroyed more than 3,000 acres in Eagle County, Colorado. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued in Eagle County on Tuesday evening.

In central California, a fast-moving brush fire, known as the Inyo Creek Fire, broke out on June 18 due to lightning from passing thunderstorms with mandatory evacuation orders issued in the area, according to the U.S. Forest Service.