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Fri, 28 Jan 2022
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Queensland bushfires: Hundreds evacuated amid 'unprecedented' weather conditions

Queensland bush fire
© Facebook/Shaz Morris
Queensland bush fire.
Hundreds of Australians have evacuated their homes due to bushfires amid "unprecedented" weather conditions in the state of Queensland, officials say.

About 40 bushfires are burning across the state following a heatwave, said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

The most serious blaze, 450km (280 miles) north of Brisbane, has destroyed at least two homes, damaged four others and prompted evacuation orders.

The conditions have been described as "highly unusual" for this time of year.

The largest bushfire is about 50km long and has burnt through approximately 11,000 hectares in the Deepwater National Park.

It began on Saturday and is expected to remain a threat in coming days. Most of the other bushfires are being contained, authorities said.

Unlike in Australia's drier south, intense fire conditions are unusual in Queensland in late November because it is the wet season.

Comment: Thundersnow, bushfires, heatwaves, dust storms: What is going on with Australia's weather?

Cloud Precipitation

California wildfires: Rain brings threat of mudslides

Paradise recovery efforts
The rain is expected to hamper recovery efforts in fire-ravaged areas such as Paradise
Rain has come to northern California, helping to contain deadly wildfires but bringing fears of mudslides that may complicate recovery efforts.

Some four to six inches of rain (10-15cm) are expected to fall in the coming days, and some areas have been warned to prepare for flash flooding.

At least 80 people died in the fires that swept across the state.

More than 500 people remain unaccounted for after the so-called Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise.

Workers have been combing through the debris from more than 10,000 homes that were burned down by the fire.

The rain that began to fall on Wednesday is the first significant downpour for the state in about six months.

It came as a relief to those less affected by the fires. By Wednesday afternoon, it had cleared smoke from the air that had closed many schools in San Francisco, the New York Times reports.

Jim Mackensen of the US Forest Service said the rain would slow the spread of the wildfires "to the point that we'll be able to finish up the firefighting operations pretty quickly".

Comment: Fears over mudslides in areas devastated by the California wildfires (Camp Fire - the deadliest in the states's history and the Woolsey Fire) are well founded. In January this year a deluge finally rendered the Thomas wildfire - then California's largest-ever '100% contained' producing instant and devastating mudflows that swept to the ocean.

See also: California Mudslides, a Sign of Worse to Come?

Cloud Grey

California wildfire smoke drifts all the way to New York City

wildfire smoke map
Thought the skies in New York City seemed puzzlingly hazy Monday afternoon? That was all the smoke blowing east from the California wildfires.

New Jersey-based Gary Szatkowski pointed out the smoke descending on the East Coast Monday, tweeting a map from NOAA showing the direction of the plumes traveling 3,000 miles across the U.S.

The smoke isn't expected to cause any health problems for people in this area. Senior meteorologist Tom Kines told the Journal News last week, "The smoke is so high up in the atmosphere. It's kind of diluted anyway as it heads eastward."


California wildfires: Death toll rises to 71 - 1,000+ missing - 50,000+ remain evacuated - 7,000+ buildings destroyed - Camp Fire deadliest in state's history - UPDATES

Camp Fire rages through Paradise, California
© AP
A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, California, on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
The death toll in California has risen to 42 and 228 people are still missing as three major wildfires continue to sweep across the state. An estimated 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

Thirteen more people were confirmed dead from the "Camp Fire" in Paradise, northern California, taking the toll in that area to 42 and making it the deadliest fire in California history.

Paradise, some 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento, has been completely destroyed by the blaze, with the authorities saying that up to 90 percent of the residents lost their homes. The death toll is expected to rise.

An estimated quarter million Californians have been forced to flee their homes to escape the three blazing infernos across the state. Strengthening winds mean the flames are expected to spread even further by Tuesday. So far, the fires have spread to some 400 square miles (1,040 square km) as some 8,000 firefighters are still unable to contain the inferno.

Comment: A total of 7,177 buildings have been destroyed, Cal Fire said. High winds and dry conditions threaten more areas through the rest of the week, fire officials warned. The total cost to the state, insurers and homeowners is expected to top $19 billion.

See also: UPDATE: On November 17th RT reports:
Casualties of the deadliest wildfire in California's history continue to mount, with eight more bodies found Friday bringing the official count to 71. Over 1,000 people have been reported missing, Butte County Sheriff said.

The shocking figure, up from some 630 listed missing the day before, may include some duplicate names, Sheriff Honea hopes. The Camp Fire has been raging for over a week across northern California, razing over 142,000 acres and laying waste the town of Paradise and its environs.

President Trump is expected to visit California on Saturday to survey the damage with Governor Jerry Brown. Trump has criticized the state's management of its forests and rivers, even as thousands of firefighters mobilized to try to control the blaze, which remains only around 45 percent contained.

The Camp Fire broke out last Thursday morning in Pulga and quickly spread due to dry and windy weather conditions. California utility PG&E Corporation appeared to have shouldered some of the blame, admitting to regulators earlier this week they had been experiencing problems with their equipment near the origin of the fire. Multiple victims have filed lawsuits alleging negligence and improper maintenance.

Trump's visit could not come at a more chaotic time. Nearly 500 searchers, including a mobile rapid-analysis DNA lab and cadaver dogs, are combing through the ashes in search of the missing, armed with DNA from their relatives. Over 50,000 people remain evacuated from their homes, while thick smoke from the fire has reportedly earned northern California the distinction of the worst air quality in the world. Schools as far away as San Francisco and San Jose are closed because of the hazardous conditions, and authorities have advised residents not to go outside without a mask for several more days.
More videos have emerged showing the devastation:

As fire-fighting efforts continue there are new fears over potential mudslides such as those experienced earlier this year. See: California Mudslides, a Sign of Worse to Come?

See also: Study: Wildfire seasons are more destructive and lasting longer almost everywhere on Earth

Update: RT on November 18th
The death toll from the worst-ever California wildfires has increased to 76, while the list of those unaccounted-for continues to grow and has jumped to 1,276, even as authorities located hundreds of previously missing persons.

While the list of casualties and missing persons continues to rise, Butte County officials expressed the hope that there might be ID duplication, or that many of those unaccounted for are alive but simply unaware that they had been reported missing. But even though authorities managed to locate over 700 people previously believed missing, with hundreds of new reports the toll has grown to 1,276.

The Camp Fire in Paradise has now destroyed around 13,000 structures after ripping through roughly 149,000 acres since November 8.

Meanwhile the Woolsey Fire in Southern California has resulted in at least three deaths after burning through some 98,000 acres of land. This fire, which is now 82 percent contained, destroyed at least 836 structures.


California wildfires: Sheriff releases names of missing - death toll stands at 56

Camp Woolsey fires california paradise
© John Locher/Associated Press
Search and rescue workers search for human remains at a trailer park burned by the Camp fire in Paradise.
Governor describes scenes of devastation as a 'war zone', as thousands remain displaced and more than 100 unaccounted for

Fifty-six people have died in the Camp fire, authorities said on Wednesday after they tracked down an additional eight sets of remains outside and in the rubble of homes in Paradise.

The majority of victims, 47 in total, have been tentatively identified by authorities, the Butte county sheriff, Kory Honea, said, but they are awaiting DNA confirmation. Some remains may never be recovered due to the extent of the fire.

Two people have also died in the Woolsey fire, a major blaze around Los Angeles, and authorities said earlier on Wednesday that they were investigating a third apparent fire-related death in the burn zone in the south of the state.



Evacuation fatigue: California authorities fear people will ignore warnings as wildfires become routine

evacuating Feather River hospital during Camp Fire Paradise CA
© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Hospital workers and first responders evacuate patients from the Feather River hospital as the Camp Fire moved through the Paradise area last week.
Authorities fear that residents will increasingly ignore repeated calls to flee as devastating wildfires become routine

In 13 months, Meg Brown has evacuated her 3,500-acre family ranch just outside of Oroville three times, as the California wildfires have closed in.

After losing animals and historic buildings on Table Mountain Ranch to the 2017 Cherokee fire, she has a plan to respond to such disasters, and how to decide when to stay or go. In recent days, Brown has worked nonstop to secure her animals and livelihood. She and her mother sleep in shifts to ensure the flames of the Camp fire - the deadliest blaze in California state history -don't surprise them in the middle of the night.

Brown and her mother left at one point after they could see the glow of the fire creeping toward the property but returned after firefighters were able to push the fire back.

That doesn't mean the risk has gone away. High winds have threatened to move the blaze back toward the ranch and the area remains under an evacuation warning. But the Browns have lived through fires before, and they want to do what they can to protect the ranch that has been in the family since the 1930s.

"Last night everybody's like, 'go, go, go'. We went, we looked, we came back because we are exhausted," Brown said. "It is evacuation fatigue."

Comment: See also:


Public panicked after California wildfire tears through nuclear waste site

© Reuters / Eric Thayer
The Woolsey fire that engulfed over 90,000 acres in California last weekend may have spread toxic and radioactive substances from a Superfund site, according to activists who believe authorities might be downplaying the risks.

The fire passed through the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL), a federal Superfund site in the Simi Hills that was the site of the worst nuclear meltdown in US history in 1959. While the California Department of Toxic Substances Control said there was no reason to be concerned of "any risks other than those normally present in a wildfire situation," locals aren't so sure, pointing out that the agency has dragged its feet in cleaning up toxic sites and accusing it of a possible cover-up.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles president Robert Dodge castigated the DTSC, pointing out that the site - now owned by Boeing - remains radioactive and polluted despite the agency's promise to clean it up eight years ago. "These toxic materials are in SSFL's soil and vegetation, and when it burns and becomes airborne in smoke and ash, there is real possibility of heightened exposure for area residents."

Comment: Also see: California wildfires: At least 42 dead, 200 missing, 250k evacuated, over 7000 buildings destroyed - Camp Fire becomes deadliest in state's history


Ice Age Farmer Report: California wildfires - Psyop? "Paradise Burning" esoteric meaning exposed

© Reuters / Stephen Lam
A structure engulfed by fire in Paradise, California

Christian discusses the esoteric significance of Paradise burning, questions the nature of these latest wildfires, and warns that these emotionally charged headlines will fuel calls for censorship of "dangerous climate deniers."



Deaths in California wildfires at 25 - More "devil winds" on the way - Choking air quality - 250,000 evacuated

wildfires northern california 2018

Wildfires devastate Butte County, CA
The death toll from California's multiple wildfires has risen to 25, after 14 more bodies were discovered in or near the Northern California town of Paradise, bringing the number of confirmed dead in the so-called Camp Fire to 23. Over 6,700 structures were destroyed just one day after the fire began, while 110 people remain missing according to authorities.

"We are doing everything we possibly can to identify those remains and make contact with the next of kin so we can return the remains to the family," said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea Saturday morning.


California wildfires: Nine dead in most destructive inferno in a century - Celebrities flee Malibu mansions - UPDATES

© Reuters / Stephen Lam
A structure engulfed by fire in Paradise, California
Raging wildfires across California have forced 157,000 people from their homes, and have led to at least one death in the north of the state, officials say. A blaze is also approaching LA Zoo.

Fanned by high overnight winds, multiple fires have ripped through the state of California in recent days. In Northern California, a blaze visible by satellite consumed the town of Paradise on Thursday and had burned nearly 110 square miles by Friday morning.

The director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services told AP that the fire has claimed lives, but that the number of deaths is still unknown. The blaze sent residents fleeing, and currently threatens the city of Chico, home to 90,000 people.

Parts of the city have been evacuated, as firefighters struggle to contain the inferno at the city limits.

Comment: Update 10 November

The Telegraph reports:
Nine people have been burned to death as California's most destructive fire in at least a century engulfed the town of Paradise, while celebrities fled fast-moving fires in the south of the state.

Only a day after it began the so-called "Camp Fire" spread to over 140 square miles in size and levelled the town, which has a population of 30,000. More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, which destroyed more than 6,700 homes and businesses.

Captain Scott McLean, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said: "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed. It's that kind of devastation.

"There was really no firefight involved, these firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday."

He said thousands of buildings had been lost in Paradise, about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Jody Jones, the mayor of Paradise, said the hospital, a McDonald's restaurant, and many other businesses had been engulfed.

She said: "I think we lost a high school and at least one of the elementary schools."

Residents evacuated in panic with some crashing their cars.

Mark Bass, a police officer, said the evacuation was "just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road".

California wildfires
© Peter Dasilva/EPA
A CalFire firefighter attempts to cool down the side of a home in Magalia, California, near Paradise as the wildfire continues to burn out of control.
Officials said all the victims were found in Paradise, including four who died inside their vehicles. Another 35 people had been reported missing and three firefighters had been injured.

With fires burning in both Northern and Southern California 157,000 people have been evacuated, including much of the city of Malibu.

Among the evacuees was Kim Kardashian West, the reality television star, who was forced to flee her Southern California home in Calabasas, near Los Angeles.

Kardashian West posted on social media a video from an aircraft window showing fires raging below.

She shared another video along with the caption: "Pray for Calabasas. Just landed back home and had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home. I pray everyone is safe."

She also posted a clip from the ground showing fire fighters driving past.

Smoke from the fire could be seen from the site of a mass shooting in nearby Thousand Oaks that left 12 people dead on Wednesday night.

Caitlyn Jenner's home in Malibu burned down, TMZ reported, although her publicist said that had not been confirmed. The reality TV star had already evacuated.

Actor Charlie Sheen said he had been unable to contact his Hollywood star father Martin Sheen and mother Janet.

He wrote on Twitter:
"I cannot get ahold of my parents, Martin and Janet Sheen. They are in the group, at the staging ground near Zuma Beach.

"If anyone has eyes on them, please let me know that they are safe and sound in the middle of this horrific scenario."
Cher, who said she had lived in Malibu since 1972, tweeted that the wildfire was coming close to her home, although she said she was not on the property.

"Friends' houses have burned. I can't bear the thought of there being no Malibu," the singer posted.

Lady Gaga posted a video on her Instagram account saying she had evacuated her Malibu home on Friday, and showing images of dark billowing smoke overhead.

Other celebrities evacuated included Oscar-winning film director Guillermo del Toro, who tweeted that he had abandoned his vast "Bleak House" museum collection of fantasy and horror memorabilia.

"Bleak House and the collection may be endangered but the gift of life remains," tweeted del Toro, director of Oscar best picture winner The Shape of Water.

Orlando Bloom tweeted a photo from his street showing the wildfire.

The Paramount Ranch, a Hollywood filming location for decades that was recently used by the HBO series Westworld, was also destroyed.

The ranch served as a location for productions ranging from 1938's The Adventures of Marco Polo to TV shows The Mentalist and Weeds. The set in the mountains west of Los Angeles dates to 1927 when Paramount Pictures leased the ranch and began making films there.

Actress Alyssa Milano said her home was "in jeopardy" amid her attempts to safely evacuate her five horses. The actress ultimately got the help she needed and tweeted that her horses were safe. "My children are safe. ... Everything with a heartbeat is safe."

The singer Melissa Etheridge also evacuated.

The entire 12,000 population of Malibu, which stretches 27 miles along the Pacific Ocean, was placed under mandatory evacuation on Friday.
More footage of the devastation: