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Thu, 05 Dec 2019
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Wildfires

Fire

Wildfires have burned through 2.5 million hectares of forest in Siberia

Siberian wildfire
© Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service
Over 2.5 million hectares of forest are on fire throughout several Siberian regions. The fires caused massive smoke buildup across Siberia, while over 400 thousand people signed a petition calling for the declaration of emergency.

Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations vowed to deploy additional forces and hardware to Siberia to fight the massive fires on Monday. "An emergency situation has been declared across the whole Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, as well as certain parts of Buryatia," the ministry said.

To curb the blazes, these three regions need at least 15 thousand personnel on the ground, Deputy Emergencies Minister Evgeny Zinichev said. The official criticized the statements of local officials who argued against fighting the fires despite the large areas affected and the massive smoke buildup in at least 500 Siberian cities and villages.


Comment: US media is getting its digs in at Russia, accusing its officials of being 'too cheap to fight wildfires'.

Reality-check: The vast majority of wildfires in the US simply burn out. Firefighters don't 'stop' them - for the most part they help people evacuate, then help them pick through the ruins.

Also, the US can't afford to 'fight wildfires'. The funds it throws at doing so are all from loans, i.e. the neverending national debt, which is effectively funded by everyone else on Earth.

So the Russians are essentially correct; there is nothing government can do to stop what is happening. In cases where settlements are threatened, they can assist evacs. That's about it.


Blue Planet

Over 100 wildfires burning across Arctic region have generated smoke plumes visible from space

arctic wildfires
© NASA Earth Observatory / Joshua Stevens
An unprecedented number of wildfires have been ravaging the Arctic for weeks following the hottest June ever recorded on Earth. Now, the fires are so huge and intense, the smoke can literally be seen from space.

Satellite images show more than 100 long-lived wildfires with huge plumes of swirling black smoke covering most of the Arctic Circle including parts of Russia, Siberia, Greenland and Alaska.

The wildfires have now reached "unprecedented levels," according to Mark Parrington of the EU's Copernicus Emergency Management Service, who said the smoke vortex is covering a "mind boggling" two million square kilometers.


Wildfires are burning across 11 regions in Russia with the largest covering Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Buryatia. Likely caused by lightning strikes, as of July 22 they have burned 320 square miles (829 square kilometers), 150 square miles (388 square km) and 41 square miles (106 square km) in the regions, respectively, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.

Comment: It's not that warm in the Arctic.

No, the significant factor behind them is likely to be the 'accelerant' provided by increased outgassings of methane and CO2, in part due to increased seismic activity. Lightning, which is also on the rise, provides the spark. Then the fires themselves produce lots more CO2.

Like, vastly more than humans can produce.

The smoke and other particulates the fires produce are joined by increased dust from increased meteors and increased volcanic eruptions, which all then jointly contribute to the increased dust-load in the atmosphere, which changes its electric charge rebalancing mechanisms, producing more intense storms and precipitation in the form of record rainfall, hail, lightning strikes, etc.

Notice that man-made activity is nowhere to be seen in this naturally intensifying feedback loop...

We're just along for the ride.


Fire

Satellite images show vast swathes of Arctic on fire - 850,000 hectares burning in Siberia

wildfire arctic
© Pierre Markuse
Vast stretches of Earth's northern latitudes are on fire right now. Hot weather has engulfed a huge portion of the Arctic, from Alaska to Greenland to Siberia. That's helped create conditions ripe for wildfires, including some truly massive ones burning in remote parts of the region that are being seen by satellites.

Pierre Markuse, a satellite imagery processing guru, has documented some of the blazes attacking the forests and peatlands of the Arctic. The imagery reveals the delicate landscapes with braided rivers, towering mountains, and vast swaths of forest, all under a thick blanket of smoke.

In Alaska, those images show some of the damage wrought by wildfires that have burned more than 1.6 million acres of land this year. Huge fires have sent smoke streaming cities earlier this month, riding on the back of Anchorage's first 90 degree day ever recorded. The image below show some of the more remote fires in Alaska as well as the Swan Lake Fire, which was responsible for the smoke swallowing Anchorage in late June and earlier this month.

Comment: RT reports on the current situation in Siberia:
Almost 44,000 people have signed a petition calling for authorities to declare an emergency in the Siberian Federal District due to wildfires in Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, RIA Novosti reported.

As of Wednesday morning, wildfires had covered almost 846,000 hectares in the north of the Krasnoyarsk territory, with officials saying that there was no immediate threat to cities and villages.

However, local residents say that pollution from wildfires in Krasnoyarsk has spread with air flows to other regions, covering many areas with a thick haze and burning smell.

Large swathes of the Arctic, including in Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland are also on fire. Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at Denmark's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said that it was fair to say that July's "Arctic Circle wildfires are now at unprecedented levels."
If there was any merit to global warming due to carbon emissions then the rise in volcanic activity would be much more of a concern. However, by all measures, our planet, overall, is cooling - with cold records being broken all the time, and in both hemispheres. And so these wildfires, heatwaves and droughts are simply one aspect of the extreme fluctuations that occur as our planet continues on into an unsettled period where lower temperatures will soon dominate.

See also: For more on what's occurring on our planet, check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?

SOTT is also tracking these shifts in a monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - June 2019: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs




Fire

Massive wildfires hit Portugal

Nine injured as 1,000 firefighters battle wildfires in Portugal

Nine injured as 1,000 firefighters battle wildfires in Portugal
A massive fire stretching 25 km has been raging through the night between the central Portuguese boroughs of Vila de Rei and Mação.

At least eight people have been injured, one seriously, a civilian apparently suffering 1st and 2nd-degree burns. The civilian has been airlifted to hospital in Lisbon.

Today, Sunday, the situation was still "far from under control", said early reports.

Strong winds have been fanning flames, increasing difficulties.


Fire

Wildfires force evacuation of hundreds of homes in Israel

Fire fighters try to extinguish a forest fire near Moshv Aderet, Israel
© Flash90/Noam Revkin Fenton
Fire fighters try to extinguish a forest fire near Moshv Aderet, July 17, 2019.
Extreme heat caused fires to rage across Israel on Wednesday, as police evacuated residents throughout the country from hundreds of homes, 15 of which caught fire.

A fire broke out mid afternoon in a parking lot in Jerusalem's Malha neighborhood, setting 10 cars aflame. Within 45 minutes, the Fire and Rescue Services brought the blaze under control, preventing it from spreading to nearby vegetation and buildings.

The Aderet and Roglit settlements close to Jerusalem, and the Shavei Shomron settlement in the West Bank, were evacuated due to fires that reached houses there. Flames were eventually subdued in all three locations.

Five houses caught on fire at the Ramat Pinkas neighborhood in Or Yehuda close to Tel Aviv. Police attempted to evacuate residents while firefighters gained control of the flames. Several residents were rescued and treated for wounds at the scene.

The first massive fire broke out in the Nesher neighborhood of Haifa near the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, forcing police to temporarily close Route 2, as the school's security forces sent an evacuation notice to students on campus. Two men suffered light injuries due to inhaling smoke and were treated by MDA personnel on the scene.


Fire

Hawaii wildfire forces thousands to evacuate Maui towns

Smoke from the fire closes Kuihelani highway in central Maui
© Matthew Thayer/AP
Smoke from the fire closes Kuihelani highway in central Maui.

Brush fire of 1,200 hectares burns out of control through island's central valley


Thousands of people on Maui have been ordered to evacuate two towns in the path of a spreading wildfire, Hawaiian officials and media said.

The 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) brush fire in the island's central valley was uncontrolled on Thursday night, Maui's mayor, Mike Victorino, told a news conference. Firefighters were monitoring it overnight but it was too dangerous to battle in the dark, he added.

"We can't fight the fire tonight," he said. "We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way."

A National Weather Service satellite photo showing smoke hanging over the island was posted online.

The brush fire was reported at about 10.30am and steady winds of up to 20mph fanned the flames, officials said. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush. Two fire department helicopters dropped water on the blaze to try to contain it.


Sun

Baked Alaska: Anchorage breaks all-time temperature record amid heatwave

wildfires
It's not only Western Europe that has been experiencing a record-breaking heatwave.

Whilst we normally think of Alaska as largely freezing and snow-covered, the US's northernmost state is forecast to bake in temperatures reaching 30.5 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher over the next five days, stretching from July 4 through July 8, according to the National Weather Service.

Its largest city, Anchorage, broke its all-time temperature record on Friday, reaching 31 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit) at the city's airport.

The previous record was also set in the airport on June 14, 1969, and reached a temperature of 29.4 degrees Celsius (84.9 degrees Fahrenheit).

Comment: More record-breaking heat and wildfire smoke forecast for Alaska


Fire

Spain: Catalonia battles worst wildfire in 20 years amid heatwave

Hilly terrain, high temperatures and strong
© Jordi Borras/AP
Hilly terrain, high temperatures and strong winds have frustrated firefighters' efforts to contain the blaze
The still-raging blaze has devoured more than 5,500 hectares of land, forcing people to evacuate and killing animals.

Catalan firefighters are battling the worst wildfire the Spanish region has seen in 20 years as Europe swelters in the grip of an intense heatwave.

Hundreds of firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire in the northeastern region of Catalonia on Friday that has scorched more than 5,500 hectares of land and forced the evacuation of some 53 residents.

A day earlier, authorities warned that the blaze, which began on Wednesday afternoon, could easily devour 20,000 hectares if it was not contained.


Fire

Underground fire triggers panic in Uttar Pradesh, India

fire
An underground fire in Mohammadi range forests of Uttar Pradesh left scores of neighbouring villagers panicked and puzzled.

Smoke was seen gushing out through the cracks in the ground and at some places land had turned into embers, said residents of Bela Pahara and Muda Galib villages in South Kheri forest division.

72-year-old Hukum Singh of Muda Galib said he has never been witness to such a scene. He feared that the fire may damage his crops.

Another villager, Bhai Lal (75), termed the scene as a natural miracle, which he had never heard of or seen earlier. Some villagers also mistook it as a volcanic incident.

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: