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Mon, 02 Aug 2021
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Thousands of Serb villagers evacuated as wildfires rage unabated

Hundreds of wildfires have broken out in recent weeks
Serbia evacuated thousands of villagers on Saturday and called in the army to help fight wildfires raging through the drought-hit western Balkans.

Fires near the southwestern Serbian town of Cacak swept through hillsides and cornfields dried to a crisp by scorching temperatures, forcing the evacuation of three villages, a Reuters correspondent reported.

"I've lost everything," said Mileta Cajic, from the village of Srezojevci. "An entire orchard, woods, raspberries, and now my house is about to go up in flames. This is the worst disaster one could imagine."

Russia sent a Beriev Be-200 fire-fighting plane, with a capacity of 12 tonnes, to join a Russian helicopter that has been in action for days trying to douse the fires.


Wildfires in Spain force 1,000 to evacuate homes in worst fire-ravaged summer for 10 years


Firefighters battle a blaze in Bedar, Spain
Two wildfires in the south forced the evacuation of around 1,000 residents, making this the worst summer in a decade for countryside devoured by flames, authorities said Sunday.

A fire started near Bedar, 85 kilometres (about 50 miles) north of Almeria, where residents spent the night in a sports centre, regional officials said. Residents and army personnel have collaborated with firefighters in combating the flames, Bedar Mayor Maria Gonzalez said.

Another fire was being brought under control late Sunday near the Mediterranean beach resort of Estepona, about 35 kilometres (20 miles) west of Marbella.

This year, Spain has lost 149,300 hectares (577 square miles) of forest and countryside in more than 11,650 wildfires, compared to around 107,000 hectares (415 square miles) for the whole of 2002, according to official statistics.

Comment: Arson or not, they need a scapegoat to distract people from realising that the enormous cutbacks in public services are largely to blame:

Cuts blamed for deaths caused by devastating Spanish wildfires


California Governor Declares Wildfire Emergency

© CalFire
Firefighter at the Ponderosa Fire, August 20, 2012
Sacramento, California - Wildfires that have destroyed homes, forced evacuations and caused road closures prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to issue an emergency proclamation today for three northern California counties at their request.

"I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the fires in the counties of Plumas, Shasta, and Tehama," the governor said in his proclamation. "The fires have destroyed residences and threaten thousands of homes and other structures, causing residents to be evacuated, roads to be closed, and emergency shelters to be opened."

The Ponderosa Fire near Manton in Tehama County has now burned 24,323 acres and is 50 percent contained. The fire was started by lightning on August 18 and has spread to neighboring Shasta County.

Thousands of people have been ordered to leave their homes as the blaze in thick forest threatens rural communities. About 3,500 homes in an area along the border of Tehama and Shasta counties are threatened as the fire continues to expand.

On Saturday, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office closed Highway 44 between Shingletown and Viola and evacuated area residents from at least 700 homes. Since then, security details have been patrolling the evacuated areas and will remain until the residents are allowed to return to their homes.

"At this time it is too early to speculate when Highway 44 road closure will be lifted," the Shasta County Sheriff's Office said this morning. "Law enforcement and fire personnel are evaluating the fire. We are looking at the weather and safety conditions hour by hour in hopes to allow the residents to return to their homes safely."

"Resources are stretched thin and fire suppression activities are still in effect," said the sheriff's office. "We do not want to lift closures prematurely and open up the area with unsafe conditions."


Heatwave Fuels Wildfires Across Southern Europe

Wildfire France
© Sky News
France: An air tanker spreads water above a forest fire in a devastated area near the French sea resort of Lacanau on the Atlantic coast.
The Greek secret service is called in to investigate arson as firefighters tackle blazes that are raging across southern Europe.

Wildfires have been spreading across southern Europe, fuelled by the hot, dry climate.

Firefighters in Spain are struggling to cope with the country's worst blazes in a decade while thousands of acres of forest are being destroyed by fires spreading across Greece.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of emergency has been declared around a town in the northeast of the country, as fires have left many residents suffering heat exhaustion.


Southern France Struggles With Extreme Heat, Wildfires

French authorities are fighting wildfires, keeping an eye on isolated elderly populations and advising people to drink fluids as temperatures soar. Heat wave warnings were issued for a swath of central and southern France, from Burgundy to the Pyrenees. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 104 degrees in some areas.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning-sparked huge fire burns to edge of 3 small California towns

© AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Firefighter Chuck Mitchell hoses down a hot spot of the Ponderosa Fire near Viola, Calif., Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. More than 1,400 fire fighters are battling the fire that has destroyed seven homes, burned 23 square miles. The fire that started Saturday is just 5 percent contained.
Aided by a shift in wind direction, firefighters made a stand against a huge lightning-sparked wildfire burning on the edge of three small Northern California towns. The blaze, which has destroyed seven homes and threats continued to threaten thousands of homes, as fearful residents sought safety miles away at an emergency shelter. The fire that started Saturday had grown to more than 30 square miles and was 35 percent contained Tuesday morning.

"All we can do is pray," evacuee Jerry Nottingham told reporters. Still, with more firefighters arriving on the scene and shifting winds helping to keep the blaze away from homes, officials said fire crews were able to improve their lines around the wildfire. "We definitely made some good progress today building around this fire," state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said late Monday.

The fast-moving Ponderosa Fire was one of many burning across the West, where lightning, dry temperatures and gusting winds have brought an early start to fire season.

Nearly 1,900 firefighters were battling the blaze in rugged, densely forested terrain as it threatened 3,500 homes in the towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola, about 170 miles north of Sacramento.

"These are the largest number of homes we've had threatened so far this year," state fire spokesman Berlant said. "The grass, brush and timber up here are so dry, and once the lightning with no rain struck, the flames began to spread quickly."

Melted satellite dishes, the remains of burned furniture and charred refrigerators could be seen in some homes in the rural area.


Firefighters Battle to Contain Wildfire on Greek Island

While thick black smoke billows from the mountains and acres of forest go up in flames, these two girls can only watch helplessly from the beach.

The Greek holiday island of Chios has been hit by wildfire, with villages evacuated and tourists forced to flee as strong winds fan the flames.

More than 200 firefighters, soldiers and volunteers are battling to control the devastating blaze, which began in the early hours of Friday.

At least three villages and tourist resorts have been evacuated and residents can only watch from the beach as fire consume the island.


Fire crews battle wildfires blazing across Western US

© Kari Greer/US Forest Service/Reuters

Flames from the Trinity Ridge Fire in the Boise National Forest engulf trees near Pine and Featherville, Idaho, Aug. 17.
As a flurry of wildfires rage across the Western United States, firefighters on Monday were trying to gain control of the 15,000-acre Ponderosa fire in Northern California that began over the weekend.

Firefighters have only been able to contain five percent of the blaze, which is burning across both Tehama and Shasta counties.

The fire began on Saturday after lighting strikes hit the densely forested area about 170 miles north of Sacramento, according to The Associated Press. So far, it has engulfed more than 23 square miles near the Northern Californian towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola, AP reported.

Seven structures have been destroyed. CAL FIRE spokesman Daniel Berlant said at least 3,000 homes remain threatened along with more than 300 other structures, AP said.


Thousands Told to Evacuate as New Fire Threatens California Towns; Blazes Rage in Washington, Idaho

© Idaho Statesmen, Kathrine Jones/The Associated Press
Pat Christensen, left, and his wife Cyndie sit on the steps of the Featherville Cafe Saturday Aug.18,2012 as smoke from Trinity Bridge fire engulfs the area.
San Francisco - Thousands of people have been told to leave their homes as a wildfire burning Sunday in thick forest threatened rural communities in far Northern California.

The fire that sparked around 11:30 a.m. Saturday has destroyed four homes and consumed nearly 11 square miles near the towns of Manton, Shingleton, and Viola, fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. About 3,500 homes spread out across a rural area along the border of Tehama and Shasta counties are threatened, he said.

"A good majority are immediately threatened and a good number are in the path of the fire," Berlant said Sunday. "We will be battling it hard today to protect as many of those homes as possible."

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but officials said it started after a series of lightning strikes in the area.

John Cluff, 42, told the Redding Searchlight that he was forced to flee his home before the evacuations were issued. He went back for his dog about 3:30 p.m.

"The fire basically chased me out of the property," he said. "All I could see was black smoke and flames."

The Shasta County Sheriff's Department has declared a State of Emergency for the county, with evacuations expected to continue through Sunday. The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center in Redding, about 35 miles to the west of the fire.

The fire, burning in a rugged area of thick forests about 170 miles north of Sacramento, is one of handful of new fires burning in Northern California.

Bizarro Earth

Wildfires hit Greek holiday island

Greek fire-fighters battled fierce blazes on the island of Chios on Saturday as billowing smoke forced the evacuations of three villages.

Citizens of the village of Lithi find refuge at the beach as a wildfire burns in the mountains on the island of Chios, Greece
Ten water bombers and five helicopters were deployed as 50 fire-fighters and almost 80 army troops worked to contain the wildfire on the eastern island. They also used 17 fire engines and were backed by 40 volunteers.

Fanned by strong winds of up 40 miles per hour, the wildfire started in the early hours of Saturday in the island's south. The evacuation was carried out on the initiative of the villagers because of the heavy smoke that covered the area.

"The fire is close to inhabited areas but for the time being has not posed an immediate threat," a fire department spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Greece is hit by wildfires, many started by arsonists, every summer, the flames fanned by high temperatures and strong winds.

Earlier this month, a wildfire blazing for five days threatened Mount Athos, the world's oldest surviving monastic community and a United Nations World Heritage Site, in northern Greece.

The worst major blazes of recent years hit in 2007 in the Peloponnese region of southern Greece and on the island of Evia, leaving 77 people dead and ravaging 250,000 hectares.