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Bizarro Earth

Australia in grip of disasters as wildfires, floods wreck havoc

© unknown
A bushfire burns close to a vineyard in Roleystone, near Perth.
Australia was battling a series of natural and man-made disasters as raging wildfires destroyed over 40 homes on the west coast city of Perth and Victoria was lashed by flashfloods that led to one death, while heavy thunderstorms were threatening to submerge Queensland.

The Meteorology department said heavy rains and possible flash flooding could hit parts of Brisbane, the Somerset area, Ipswich and Lockyer Valley, areas which are already reeling under the recent flooding.

Senior forecaster Rick Threlfall said a major storm was developing around the Marburg and Amberley areas, west of Brisbane, a reported by Herald Sun said quoting experts.

"That storm's not moving too far and it's produced about 40 to 50 mm (rainfall) in the last hour... with those rainfall totals flash flooding is a potential," he said.

"We've also got a storm currently heading towards Toowoomba. That's not looking too severe at the moment," he added.


US: Colorado fire commander says next 36 hours pivotal

© AP Photo/Ed Andrieski
A slurry bomber drops retardant on a burning ridge as the sun sets behind it as a wildfire burns west of Loveland, Colo., on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010.
Loveland - Officials say the next 36 hours are pivotal for crews to make headway against a fire burning very dry trees and grass in steep terrain of northern Colorado foothills.

Incident team manager Jim Thomas says warm, dry weather is helping fuel the nearly 1,000-acre wildfire near Loveland, and crews are also expecting winds to pick up later Tuesday and into Wednesday.

More than 400 firefighters have been assigned to fight the fire. The team that led the fight against a wildfire that's now contained near Boulder has taken over.

Arrow Down

US: 169 Homes Destroyed in Colorado Wildfire

© AP Photo/Mark Leffingwell
A home destroyed by a wildfire is shown in an aerial photo over Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010.
Hundreds of residents evacuated by a wildfire that has destroyed at least 169 houses in the Colorado foothills were being temporarily allowed back to their homes Thursday.

Firefighters were also working to make progress containing the fire ahead of strong winds expected later in the day. Gusts of up to 60 mph could blow away the little moisture the area has seen and spread the fire beyond the 20-mile-long perimeter.

Containment lines have been built around 30 percent of the fire, but firefighters warned that progress could be undone.

"The wind event tonight, we could be off to the races," said Rob Bozeman, field observer with the Boulder Mountain Fire Protection District.


Winds push fires through dozens of Detroit homes

© AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
A burned home is seen through a remaining entryway of another home on Detroit's east side, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010.
Wind-whipped flames swept through at least three Detroit neighborhoods, destroying dozens of homes, including many that were vacant, and even sending waves of searing heat blocks away, officials said.

A thick odor of smoke filled the air Wednesday after the roaring fires, fanned by winds of up to 50 mph, jumped from house to house Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.

There were about 85 fires at homes and garages over a four-hour period, said Dan Lijana, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing.

"It was a freakish day - the wind was tremendous," said City Council President Charles Pugh.

Residents complained of a slow response by the city's emergency responders, but Pugh said the fire department did its best with the resources available.

Detroit fire Capt. Steve Varnas told the Detroit Free Press that some fires may have been caused by dead tree limbs being blown onto power lines. At least one electric company launched an investigation into possible ties between the blazes and its lines.


8 people missing in Colorado wildfire

© AP Photo/Eric Peter Abramson
In this photo provided by Eric Peter Abramson, a line of buses are destroyed after a wild fire passed through Gold Hill, Colo. on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010.
Boulder - Authorities are searching for eight people who have not been accounted for as a wildfire tore through their neighborhoods this week.

Sheriff's Cmdr. Rich Brough said Wednesday that 20 people were initially reported missing and 12 of them have been accounted for.

It's unclear whether the remaining eight were in some of the 53 homes that have been reported destroyed. Authorities are following up with family members of the missing people and checking homes in the area, and it's still possible they will be located once the checks are complete.

About 3,500 people have been evacuated from about 1,000 homes since the fire broke out Monday.

Firefighters say mapping now shows the blaze is burning on 6,168 acres, or about 9 1/2 square miles. That's about a thousand acres smaller than they had thought.

The new reports about eight people missing and the ever-changing acreage estimates have occurred as people are complaining about a lack of information from authorities about the blaze.

Laura McConnell, a spokeswoman for the fire management team, said as many as 300 firefighters are at the fire and more are on the way. She said they're dealing with downed power lines, debris, poison ivy and rattlesnakes. They also have to be watchful for propane tanks in the area.


US: Colorado fire forced residents to make mad dash

wildfire Boulder
© AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin
Kurt Rieder, in white hat, with his 9 year old daughter Lily watch the smoke plume from a wildland fire burning in the Four Mile Canyon area just west of Boulder Colo. on Monday, Sept. 6, 2010. High winds pushed the smoke and ash eastward over the Colorado plains.
Boulder - David Myers knew it was time to leave when he looked out into the forest and spotted bright red flames towering skyward. Then came a blinding cloud of smoke and a deafening roar as the fire ripped through the wilderness.

"You can hear just this consumption of fuel, just crackling and burning. And the hardest thing is ... you couldn't see it because at the point the smoke was that thick," he said.

Myers was among about 3,500 people who desperately fled the fire after it erupted in a tinder-dry canyon northwest of Boulder on Monday and swallowed up dozens of homes. Residents packed everything they could into their cars and sped down narrow, winding roads to safety, encountering a vicious firestorm that melted the bumper of one couple's van.

Cloud Lightning

Fire Tornado in Brazil

Bizarro Earth

US: Homes evacuated overnight near Montana wildfire

© AP Photos/Lisa Holshue
Flames from a prescribed burn that turned into a wildfire are visible from Highway 279 on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010 near Canyon Creek, Mont. Forest spokeswoman Kathy Bushnell says the wind kicked up at about 1 p.m. driving the fire beyond the boundaries of the prescribed burn.
Wildfires drove early morning evacuations in western Montana and brought dozens of fresh firefighters to Washington state on Friday as crews battled dozens of blazes throughout the northwest.

Cooler temperatures and calmer winds helped firefighters control wildfires that had flared up Thursday across eastern Washington in hot, gusty winds.

But in Montana, a cold front brought lightning and sparked seven fires on forest service and private land.

Ravalli County authorities began knocking on doors at 3 a.m. Friday, warning residents about three miles west of Hamilton that a fire in the Bitterroot National Forest was threatening their homes.

The Downing Mountain fire was reported at 8 p.m. Thursday and quickly grew to 50 to 100 acres.

More than 50 homes or structures in the Blodgett and Canyon Creek areas are threatened.


Spain, Portugal fight wildfires

© Francisco Seco, AP
People fight a fire on the Peneda-Geres mountain near Pardela, northern Portugal.
Madrid - Officials say emergency services in Spain and Portugal are combating 19 sizable wildfires as cooler weather is now easing firefighting.

The regional government of Galicia, in the northwestern corner of Spain, says firefighters are working to control outbreaks in four areas of the province, including one "very large forest fire" in Negreira.

A fire in Barjas, in the neighbouring province of Leon, is being brought under control, mayor Alfredo de Arriba says.

Portugal's Civil Protection authority said on Sunday its forces had fought fires in 14 different areas and cooler conditions presented "a much more favourable scenario".

Comment: Footage of the fires in Portugal from Russia Today:


Fire-affected areas shrink in Russia

Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry reported Monday that the wildfire-affected areas were reduced by some 8,000 hectares over the past 24 hours.

The number of fires decreased fourfold, the ministry was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Two NASA satellites registered a total of 371 hotspots in Russia on Sunday, according to the ScanEx website that received information from the satellites.