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Mon, 17 Jan 2022
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Colorado Wildfire Could Be Linked to Controlled Burn

© The Associated Press
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US: Conifer, Colorado - Firefighters were hoping to start containing at least part of a mountain wildfire Wednesday that forced hundreds of residents to flee, damaged 28 homes and may have caused the deaths of two people.

Strong gusts and erratic fire behavior forced crews to focus largely on protecting homes overnight instead of attacking the fire that broke out Monday, but more resources have been arriving.

The blaze is among the top in the nation for the priority to get firefighting resources, fire officials said late Tuesday.

Some 450 firefighters from Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah were sent to assist 250 firefighters on the ground. Weather permitting, four aircraft were scheduled to drop retardant Wednesday on the 7-square-mile blaze that resulted in mandatory evacuations of 900 homes south of the commuter town of Conifer, about 25 miles southwest of downtown Denver.

Residents of 6,500 more homes were warned Tuesday to be ready to leave because of the fire's behavior. Many homes are in winding canyons, and authorities wanted to give citizens as much advance warning as possible.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine whether the fire reignited from a controlled burn that was meant to reduce vegetation that could fuel a devastating blaze around homes and watersheds.


Colorado Wildfire Kills 1, Chars Homes

© The Associated Press/Kris Garrett
A plume of smoke rises skyward over the top of a wildfire burning out of control near Conifer, Colo., March 26, 2012.
US: Conifer, Colorado - One person has been found dead in a Colorado wildfire that burned more than 4½ square miles and destroyed at least five homes in the mountains southwest of Denver, authorities said Monday.

The victim's name wasn't immediately released and investigators haven't said how the person died.

The fast-moving wildfire was reported at midday Monday and spread quickly amid dry, windy weather.

"We're in a defensive mode, structure protection only," Jefferson County Sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. "We're not really fighting the fire right now."

Kelley said authorities don't know how many houses were lost but said it was at least five and probably more than 10.

Authorities ordered residents of more than 900 homes to evacuate.

There were no other reports of injuries, but a sheriff's deputy who was alerting residents to leave was trapped in his patrol car after he inadvertently drove into a ditch in the thick smoke, Kelley said. He summoned help by radio.

Up to a dozen smaller fires were reported from the northeast Colorado plains to the southern part of the state. There were no immediate reports of injuries or structures destroyed in any of the other fires.


Twin threat: Cyclone, bushfires threaten Western Australia

Cyclone Iggy
© Bureau of Meteorology
Tropical Cyclone Iggy off the Western Australia coast
A tropical cyclone and major bushfires are posing a twin threat to travellers in Western Australia's central west.

Authorities are concerned holidaymakers from Perth and elsewhere may find themselves stranded.

The Fire and Emergency Services Authority had urged tourists to leave the Gascoyne region because flooding, linked to the approaching Cyclone Iggy, could cut off the highway to Perth.

But now bushfires have forced the closure of the highway, south of Carnarvon.


US, Nevada: Reno Brush Fire Stopped After Charring 20 Homes

© The Associated Press
Firefighters battle a wind-driven brush fire burning through Pleasant Valley, south of Reno, Nev., Jan. 19, 2012.
A brush fire fueled by 82 mph wind gusts burned more than 20 homes Thursday and forced thousands of people to evacuate their neighborhoods before firefighters stopped the flames' surge toward Reno.

About 2,000 people remained under evacuation orders late Thursday as 250 firefighters battled the blaze, said Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez, who warned that a full assessment might reveal even more damage.

There was one fatality in the fire area, Hernandez said, but he declined to provide more details, saying an autopsy would be needed to determine the cause of death.

The fire, of unknown origin, broke out shortly after noon in a valley along U.S. Highway 395. Soon, more than 10,000 people were told to flee their homes.


Chile battles 3 huge wildfires; 1 killed, tourists evacuated, losses in millions

Chile forest fire
© Associated Press
A helicopter works to dampen an area of the Torres del Paine national park in Torres del Paine, Chile
Firefighters in Chile battled three huge wildfires Monday that have burned about 90 square miles (23,000 hectares) of forest, destroyed more than 100 homes and have driven away thousands of tourists while causing millions of dollars in losses.

The fires also claimed their first victim: an elderly man who refused warnings to leave his home.

Chile's normally rainy southern regions are suffering from a nationwide heat wave, on top of a drought that makes fires increasingly likely. The country was battling 48 separate fires on Sunday alone, and red alerts were declared for the regions of Magallanes, Bio Bio and Maule.

"We have a situation of extreme vulnerability," said President Sebastian Pinera, who called for toughening sentences for arson.

Bizarro Earth

US: Major Wildfire Outside Reno, Nevada closes 90 schools

State and county officials in northern Nevada have declared a state of emergency as a wind-whipped wildfire in Reno has destroyed more than 20 homes and forced the evacuation of thousands.

"It's tough man, it's tough," Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Friday. "The winds are not helping us at all."


US: Minnesota Wildfire Now 19 Percent Contained

mn wildfire smoke
© WISN Milwaukee
Hundreds of firefighters continue to make progress in containing a huge wildfire in northeastern Minnesota that began a month ago.

A spokesman for the firefighters, Larry Helmerick, said Monday the 147-square-mile fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is 19 percent contained, an improvement from 11 percent on Sunday.

Helmerick says 598 firefighters are on the ground in the Boundary Waters, where helicopters, tankers and bulldozers are being used to battle the blaze that started with a lightning strike Aug. 18.

Smoke from the blaze traveled nearly 400 miles to Southeast Wisconsin early last week. Two days of smoke and ash prompted air quality alerts across southern Wisconsin.


US, Minnesota: Residents being asked to evacuate as wind gusts fuel wildfire in northeastern Minnesota

Pagami Creek Fire
© Greg Seitz
Canoeists paddle through the narrows between Lake Four and Lake Three, looking south at the fire and the smoke on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. "It really grew during the course of the day," said Greg Seitz, communications director for the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
Residents and campers near the Boundary Waters fire are being asked to evacuate as a wildfire burning in northeastern Minnesota continues to grow.

Fueled by dry trees and winds gusting to near 40 miles per hour, the Pagami Creek Fire has at least doubled in size, and some estimates say it may have tripled since the weekend.

It is now spreading south outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

"We're expecting higher winds again tomorrow coming out of the northwest," said Becca Manlove, public information officer with the Pagami Creek Fire Information. "We would rather people have a little time to think and gather things and move rather than asking them on very short notice.

Bizarro Earth

US: Catastrophic Fires Burn Thousands of Acres, Force Evacuations Across Central Texas

© Jay Janner/ Austin American-Statesman
Fires in Bastrop County, Spicewood, Steiner Ranch, Pflugerville, others driven by wind and dry conditions.

In a summer where brush fires have become a near-daily occurrence, firefighting officials said the multiple wildfires that raged across Central Texas on Sunday were the worst the region has seen all year.

Numerous wind-driven fires pushed fire departments to their limits and forced evacuations in Bastrop County, the Steiner Ranch subdivision, Pflugerville, Spicewood and other areas. Scores of residents were left wondering whether they had homes to return to as many of the fires continued to burn Sunday night.

The largest and most destructive fire was in Bastrop County, where a blaze burned 14,000 acres and grew to an estimated 16 miles long by the end of the day, said Mark Stanford, fire chief of the Texas Forest Service.

"It's catastrophic," Stanford said of the Bastrop County fire. "It's a major natural disaster."

Arrow Up

US: Rising Death Toll in Texas Wildfires

Blaze near Austin is still raging out of control and has burned 600 homes

© Larry W. Smith/EPA
A wildfire burns out of control in Bastrop State Park near Bastrop on Sept. 5.
One of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in Texas history left more than 1,000 homes in ruins Tuesday and stretched the state's firefighting ranks to the limit, confronting Gov. Rick Perry with a major disaster at home just as the GOP presidential contest heats up.

More than 180 fires have erupted in the past week across the rain-starved Lone Star State, and nearly 600 of the homes destroyed since then were lost in one catastrophic blaze in and around Bastrop, near Austin. That blaze raged out of control Tuesday for a third day.

Whipped into an inferno by Tropical Storm Lee's winds over the weekend, the blaze burned at least 40 square miles, forced the evacuation of thousands and killed at least two people, bringing the overall death toll from the outbreak to at least four.

"We lost everything," said Willie Clements, whose two-story colonial home in a neighborhood near Bastrop was reduced to a heap of metal roofing and ash. A picket fence was melted. Some goats and turkeys survived, but about 20 chickens and ducks were burned to death in a coop that went up in flames.