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Fire

Canadian wildfires are already turning sunsets red in the US

Wildfire in northern Alberta
© The Canadian Press
The fire in northern Alberta.
The calendar hasn't turned to summer yet, but skies in Canada and across the U.S. already look like August. Smoke from massive Canadian wildfires has made the sun disappear in Edmonton and turned Friday's sunrise blood red as far east as Vermont.

More than 900,000 acres of Alberta has gone up in flames, the latest symptom of our overheating planet. Wildfire risk continues to be high in the province as well as neighboring British Columbia where a heat wave has temperatures climbing into the 90s for parts of the province through the weekend.

There are currently 10 fires in Alberta raging out of control according to the province's fire agency. The largest of which is the Chuckegg Creek Fire burning in the northwest part of the province. The blaze, combined with others in the High Level fire district, has consumed more than 610,000 acres as of Thursday according to the agency, and along with the other wildfires in the province, forced 10,000 to flee from their homes.

The province remains on a Level 5 alert, the highest alert level the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) issues, due to a combination of factors including dangerous weather, high fuel loads, and inadequate resources to respond to any new fires. The country as a whole remains on a Level 3 alert, and with a hot, dry weekend ahead for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of the Yukon Territory, the threat of more conflagrations remains acute.


Comment: See also:


Fire

Israel seeks the assistance of 'friendly' countries to assist with deadly wildfires

israeli wildfires
© Reuters / Amir Cohen
Tel Aviv is considering seeking help from "friendly" neighbors as the country was hit by an extreme heatwave and subsequent wildfires that have already destroyed dozens of houses and displaced some 3,500 people.

Raging fires forced evacuation of several small towns in central Israel on Thursday. The blazes affected wooded areas between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with firefighter crews and airplane tankers trying to push back the flames. Some 22 people have been reportedly hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

The fires have been triggered by unusually high temperatures that surged to 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 F) near Jerusalem and even 43.5 degrees Celsius (110.3 F) outside Tel Aviv, according to the Israel Meteorological Service.

Fire

Toxic smoke hangs over Mexico City as wildfires burn

Mexico City wildfire smoke
© The Weather Channel
The government of Mexico City has issued alerts for poor air quality since Friday as a result of a series of forest fires that have broken out in and around the most populated city in North America.

Outdoor activities were affected during the course of the weekend, and continues, due to a dense layer of smoke that has enveloped much of the city. Videos posted on social media showed how dense the smoke was that hung in the air over Mexico's capital city.

The situation is especially dangerous because, as reported by the Ministry of the Environment, the air is contaminated with high levels of ash particles, which can cause respiratory problems and other diseases by inhalation.


Fire

Wildfires scorch over 44,000 hectares across Russia

Russia wildfires
© YouTube/RT (screen capture)
Wildfires have scorched over 44,000 hectares in 18 Russian regions, the Federal Aerial Forest Protection Service (Avialesokhrana) said in a statement on Saturday, adding that 155 forest fires had been extinguished in the previous 24 hours.

"As of May 11, 2019, a total of 54 forest fires are active in Russia, which engulf 44,245 hectares, active efforts are underway to extinguish the fires," the statement reads.

As many as 17 forest fires have been registered in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region, while the number of wildfires active in the Kurgan, Irkutsk and Trans-Baikal region ranges from four to six. Firefighting activities involve 3,600 personnel and 835 pieces of equipment.

The fire season has begun in 77 Russian regions. A state of emergency has been declared in six regions, namely the Kurgan, Trans-Baikal, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Tuva regions, as well as in certain districts of the Chelyabinsk region, the Federal Aerial Forest Protection Service pointed out.


Comment: Raging wildfires in Russia's Trans-Baikal region have killed thousands of animals; national parks and conservation sites threatened


Fire

'Unprecedented' wildfire season has begun in Washington, US

Wildfires
© Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
The wildfire season is off to a busy start, and state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz calls it unprecedented. With record money recently approved at the state and federal level, KIRO 7 is looking into what that means for the firefight this season.

"So far to date we've had 170 fires in Washington state," Franz told KIRO 7. "Fifty-three percent of them west of the Cascades and I have to stress that is a new phenomenon. We're not used to having that many fires west of the Cascades and we're not used to having that many fires early in the season."

The state legislature approved a record $50 million in its recent budget, and Congress and President Donald Trump approved $2 billion over the next eight years. That federal money is available staring this season.

"I was just back in D.C. last week thanking them for their leadership on that," Franz said.

Much of the federal money will provide more drones, and KIRO 7 has showed you how drones help fight wildfires. Infrared technology pinpoints hot spots in real-time. Normally firefighters have to take a glove off and use the back of their hands, feeling the ground for hot spots.

Comment: Meanwhile with insurance claims of $12bn, last year's wildfires were the most expensive in California history.


Fire

With insurance claims of $12bn last year's wildfires were the most expensive in California history

Camp Fire rages through Paradise, California
© AP
A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, California, on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
Insurance claims have topped $12bn for the November wildfires in California, making them the most expensive in state history.

The figure released on Wednesday by the insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, covers the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and two southern California blazes.

Most of the damages relate to the Camp fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings in Paradise.


California experienced some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in its history in 2017 and 2018. A series of sweeping fires in late 2017 had been the most expensive, with claims topping $11.8bn.

The increasing destruction is making it harder and more costly for people to obtain homeowners insurance.

The insurance department has started collecting data on policy non-renewals to better assess patterns and locations where coverage is being dropped, Lara said earlier this year.

"Wildfire has long been part of California's landscape, and insurers understand that California faces major wildfire risk," said Nicole Mahrt-Ganley of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, which represents about 60% of the nation's property casualty insurance market.

Fire

The UK has already had more wildfires in 2019 than any year on record

Firefighters tackle a blaze on moorland in northwest England
© OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters tackle a blaze on moorland in northwest England on 21 April
The UK has been hit by nearly a hundred large wildfires in 2019, making it the worst year on record already.

The hot spell in February and the recent Easter heatwave have contributed to a total of 96 major wildfires of 25 hectares or larger, eclipsing the previous high of 79 across the whole of 2018.

Researchers told New Scientist that the figures, collated by the European Forest Fire Information System, were evidence that climate change had already heightened the risk of wildfires in the UK.

More than 100 firefighters battled wildfires over the Easter weekend across Illkley Moor and Marsden Moor in West Yorkshire. Another fire broke out on moorland near Marsden on Tuesday afternoon, requiring ten fire engines to attend.

Fires throughout the year

There were also wildfires in Cornwall, Dorset, Derbyshire, Northern Ireland, the Peak District, Rotherham, Wiltshire and Wales, according to the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).

Scotland was affected by fires across the Highlands, including a large one that posed a "serious risk" to the Moray windfarm.

The spate of blazes follows a series of major wildfires during the hot, dry weather of 2018, including the Saddleworth Moor fire near Manchester, which burned for five days and made pollution levels spike.

Paul Hedley, national wildfires lead for the NFCC, said it was "really significant" that the number of large wildfires in 2019 had already overtaken 2018's tally so early in the year.

Comment: Europe's record breaking warm winter leads to unprecedented wildfires


Fire

Raging wildfires in Russia's Trans-Baikal region have killed thousands of animals; national parks and conservation sites threatened

wildfire Trans-Baikal Siberia
© Sputnik/ Evgeny Epanchintsev
According to the local Ministry of Agriculture, 10,000 sheep, 1,277 cattle, 500 horses, and 1,800 domestic birds were lost. The fires also threaten to destroy the area’s national parks and conservation sites.
Around 12,000 livestock have been killed - through smoke inhalation or burning - by massive wildfires in the Siberian Trans-Baikal region, which also threaten to destroy the area's national parks and conservation sites.

According to the local Ministry of Agriculture, 10,000 sheep, 1,277 cattle, 500 horses, and 1,800 domestic birds were lost. Photos and videos posted online showed piles of burned animal remains among devastated fields covered in ash. The drone footage captured dozens of homes in the villages burned to the ground.


Comment: The fires have also destroyed more than 100 homes in the region, leaving hundreds homeless: Hundreds lose homes as huge wildfires ravage Russia's Trans-Baikal


Fire

Large gorsefire breaks out in County Donegal, Ireland

gorse fire donegal
© Pacemaker
The fire broke out on Monday morning
A large County Donegal gorse fire has been brought under control, a Donegal County Council official has said.

The wildfire broke out at about 06:00 local time, with 15 fire appliances from 12 brigade areas tackling it at its height.

Gary Martin, director of emergency services at Donegal County Council, told broadcaster RTÉ caution is still being applied due to wind conditions.

He said the fire has been beaten back in a number of areas.

Comment: Over at least the past 12 months warm and dry conditions have persisted throughout many parts of Eurasia and the result has been a dramatic increase in wildfires:


Fire

UK: 3 arrested over West Yorkshire moorland fire on hottest day of year so far

Ilkley Moor
© David Shepherdson
A wide area of Ilkley Moor, pictured here at 22:15 BST on Saturday, was well alight
Three men have been arrested after a large fire took hold on moorland in West Yorkshire.

Firefighters tackled flames covering 25,000 sq m on Ilkley Moor on Saturday, with helicopters making water drops.

West Yorkshire Police said the men, aged 19, 23 and 24, remain in custody for questioning while inquiries continue.

Bradford Council reiterated a warning for walkers to stay off the moors as crews were damping down.

A police spokesperson said a smaller fire took hold on a different section of the moor on Saturday, with investigations under way to see if it is connected to the larger blaze.

Comment: While irresponsible people (or arsonists) may be to blame for causing this fire, the unseasonably dry and warm conditions that enabled it to happen are quite unusual, and this is the case throughout particular parts of the world and which also seem to be a continuation from last year. Meanwhile in other parts of Europe are seeing much lower temperatures bringing snow, hail and flooding: And from last year: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: California Wildfires, Climate Change, And The Impossible Brexit