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Thu, 20 Jan 2022
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Wildfire the size of 50 football pitches breaks out in "tinder dry" New Forest, UK

fire hampshire
© Hampshire Fire and Rescue
Gorse fire in Holbury, New Forest
Firefighters spent the night tackling a gorse fire across more than 85 acres of land in the New Forest.

The blaze, off Rollestone Road in Holbury, Hampshire, started shortly after midnight.

Station Manager Paul Reddish said: "It lit up the night sky - it was a challenge for the crews to get ahead of the fire and create some breaks."

At its height, 45 firefighters were sent to the blaze. The fire was put out by about 03:30 BST.

Mr Reddish said the prolonged heatwave conditions meant areas of the forest were "tinder dry".

Comment: Following a prolonged dry spell the UK has seen an unprecedented number of wildfires, some of an intensity not seen for decades - and the UK is not alone in seeing both extreme drought and epic flooding:

Cloud Lightning

Lightning sets off over 100 forest fires in southern Norway

© Tor Aage Hansen
More than 100 forest and brush fires were burning all over Southern Norway, some of them out of control, on Thursday afternoon and evening. Extremely dry conditions and strong winds were posing huge challenges for emergency crews.

State broadcaster NRK reported fires in the Agder counties, Telemark, Vestfold, Østfold, Buskerud, Hedmark and Oppland. NRK reported 15 fires in Østfold alone (the county just southeast of Oslo), five in Agder, at least seven in Telemark and 30 in Buskerud.

By Thursday evening the numbers had risen to more than 30 in Østfold, around 25 in Agder, around 50 in Telemark and 52 in Buskerud. A few others were burning out of control in Østre Toten.


Wildfires continue to rage in UK with a new woodland blaze in Scotland

Fire crews tackle woodland blaze near Dalbeattie
© Solway Press Services
Fire crews tackle woodland blaze near Dalbeattie
Fire crews have spent several hours bringing a blaze under control in the south of Scotland countryside.

They were called out at about 17:30 on Monday to the incident between Southwick Forest and Edingham Farm, near Dalbeattie.

Comment: Back on 29th May three large wildfires broke out in different locations in Scotland, and since then there have been fires reported every day, all over the UK, but particularly the northern regions. The current fires are being blamed on the fact that it hasn't rained for over 50 days and its one of the longest - but not the hottest - heatwaves for over 40 years. So that still makes one wonder what contributed to the fires in Scotland which occurred well over a month ago.

Whether all these fires can be attributed solely to arson is still up for question, but regardless, this is highly unusual for the UK:


California: Multiple wildfires and record-breaking heat

California wildfire
© Cal Fire/Cleveland National Forest
The Cleveland National Forest is located in California.

Wildfires burned through Southern and Central California on Friday, prompting mandatory evacuations as areas across the region experienced record-breaking heat. Wildfires burned through Southern and Central California on Friday, prompting mandatory evacuations as areas across the region experienced record-breaking heat.

Comment: It was hot, but maybe it was not record-breaking - at least perhaps not in Los Angeles. See: Faulty weather stations established the all-time record high temperatures for Los Angeles

Firefighters on Friday were battling blazes in Alpine, Dulzura and Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base in San Diego County, California, where the National Weather Service had issued an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. A fire also broke out further north in the city of Goleta in Santa Barbara County later Friday night.

The wildfire in Alpine, known as the West Fire, started in the morning and spread to more than 400 acres by the afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

Comment: Heat wave scorches US Midwest and East, wildfire warnings for Colorado and California


Another fire scorches through moorland parched by heatwave in Bradford, UK

Another moor fire scorches through land parched by heatwave in Bradford, UK

BLAZE: A picture of the flames that have engulfed the moor.
A FIRE has broken out near Cullingworth Moor in Bradford. West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service says four fire engines are at the scene. The fire is reportedly on heathland between Harden and Cullingworth, known as Catstones Moor, according to a source.

Another source said: "I believe the fire is between Cullingworth, Ryecroft and The Guide Inn, at Hainworth Shaw, Keighley." One onlooker could see smoke building on the moor, from the nearby Cullingworth Gala.

Fearne Grist said: "The flames are spreading bad." Sulley Baynham said: "It's now spreading across and lighting the woodland, so potentially could become alot bigger especially as it nears the St Ives woodland estate. He added: "There's limited access for fire crews due to the location."

Comment: The ignition of the unprecedented number of fires in the UK has been speculated to be arson or carelessness, but there may be other factors not yet considered. What is clear is that after the UK's brutally cold winter followed by an unusually, unsettled spring, summer too is proving to be much hotter and drier than would be considered normal. And these erratic weather patterns are wreaking havoc across the planet:


Martin Fire burning northeast of Winnemucca, Nevada grows to 164,971 acres

The Bureau of Land Management released this photograph of the Martin Fire.

The Bureau of Land Management released this photograph of the Martin Fire.
The Bureau of Land Management says the Martin Fire has expanded into Elko County. It was last reported at Monument Hill going towards the Desert Road Reservoir, and is currently threatening several homes and other pieces of land in its path.

The Martin Fire is burning about 48 miles northeast of Winnemucca and has burned 164,971 acres and 2% contained as of Saturday according to the Central Nevada Interagency Dispatch Center. That is 258 square miles, and almost double its estimated size on Friday. .

Wind gusting to 35 mph and highly flammable cheatgrass and sagebrush are pushing the fire, said Norm Rooker, fire information officer for the Martin Fire. There were no heavy snows this year to push down the cheatgrass, so it is standing tall and there is more than 200 percent of the normal amount.


Wildfire in Spring Creek, Colorado burns over 94,000 acres - 3rd largest in state history

This photo, taken on June 27 around 8 p.m., show the beginning of the Spring Fire.
© Costilla County Sheriff's Office
This photo, taken on June 27 around 8 p.m., show the beginning of the Spring Fire.
The Spring Fire burning in southern Colorado continued to explode in size as acreage reached 94,125 as of Wednesday morning, according to fire officials. This makes it the third largest wildfire in state history after the Hayman Fire in 2002 and the West Fork Fire complex (technically three separate fires that merged) in 2013.

986 people are fighting the fire, which is 5 percent contained. Crews are dealing with hot, dry and windy weather conditions.

A tweet posted by officials posted Monday night said that 104 homes have been destroyed by the fire and 61 are intact.


Two more fires hit north-west England during heatwave

Major fire on the dunes at St Annes.
© @elliotscarwash
Major fire on the dunes at St Annes.
Fire are now damping down after spending all afternoon battling a large grass fire in the sand dunes on the Fylde coast. The blaze was in the dunes in St Annes, with thick smoke blowing along the seafront and over roads.

Major blaze in the sand dunes at St Annes Major blaze in the sand dunes at St Annes

Five fire crews were called to deal with the blaze, which damaged a large area of grassland within the nature reserve. Police have closed Clifton Drive north in both directions and appealed for people to stay away from the area. A spokesman for Lancashire fire and rescue said: "We had five fire engines at a grass fire on Clifton Drive in Lytham St Anne's.

"We're now damping down, but if you're close by, please keep your windows and doors closed."

Comment: The ground does appear parched and restrictions of water use - the 'hose pipe ban' - have been implemented in the UK as a heatwave strikes the UK. What is curious is that this area has not seen so many fires, some of them are exceptionally large, and in such a short time.


New fire erupts in different area of UK's moorlands, second in recent days, smoke seen for miles

moorland fire
© Twitter: Mikey Dee
Winter Hill
Around 60 firefighters and 15 fire engines from Lancashire and Manchester fire services have been scrambled to Winter Hill to tackle another fire on Rivington Moor. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) got the call around 4pm of smoke coming from the Winter Hill area - with the plume visible for more than 20 miles in Preston, Wigan, and Manchester.

With the Hill being on the border between both Lancashire and Greater Manchester, fire crews from both services were called to the scene.

John Taylor from LFRS said: "We are going up to 15 fire engines and their crews. It's a 50/50 mix of Greater Manchester and Lancashire services. "We're trying to get as much water on to the fire as possible. I am stood by the mast [at Winter Hill] and the fire isn't endangering that.

Comment: Fires of this intensity and so early on in the year is not a particularly common occurrance, so for two to happen in one week is even stranger. And it was only a few weeks ago that there were fires in the Scottish highlands, in three separate locations. Whilst it is true the UK has had unusually warm weather in recent weeks, winter and much of spring were particularly brutal in terms of cold and rain. So just what is going on?


Alberta wildfire more than triples in size overnight

hinton wildfire 2018 canada
© David Robson
A wildfire about 15 kilometres southeast of Hinton, Alta., is burning out of control.
Air tankers, helicopters used in fight against fire that has grown to 1,250 hectares

A wildfire burning out of control near Hinton, Alta., has more than tripled in size in less than a day, fire officials said Thursday.

The fire, about 15 kilometres southeast of the town of Hinton, now covers 1250 hectares, up from the 900 hectares reported earlier Thursday, and the 350 hectares reported Wednesday evening, said wildfire officials.

"This morning there's a bit of an inversion which makes it difficult to get a more recent size assessment, so it could be slightly larger than that," said wildfire information officer Travis Fairweather

An inversion is when a lot of smoke at the head of the fire creates difficult flying conditions for those assessing the fire, he explained.