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Wildfires

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100 Acre wildfire in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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Firefighters were battling a blaze in the south district of Shenandoah National Park that had grown to over 100 acres as of Friday afternoon.

According to WHSV TV- 3 in Harrisonburg, Va., the fire was burning entirely within the park at Rocks Mountain. Firefighters were on the ground as of 4 p.m. still trying to prevent the fire from leaving the park.

The wildfire was first reported at approximately 3:10 p.m. on Friday Feb. 28. The cause is under investigation.

As a result the following trails are closed until further notice: Riprap, Wildcat Ridge and Rocks Mountain. The rest of the park including the Skyline remains open.

According to reports, there are currently 58 personnel are working to contain the blaze, including members of the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Virginia Department of Forestry, and Augusta County Fire and Rescue. Additional firefighters and equipment have been requested.

Phoenix

Lynchburg, Virginia facing 'near critical' wildfire conditions despite sub-zero temperatures‏

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© Unknown
Wildfire conditions are "near critical" in Lynchburg and counties to the east this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

In a hazardous weather outlook, meteorologists blamed a combination of windy weather and low humidity. Weekend precipitation is expected to lower the risk.

Meanwhile, Bedford and Amherst counties have been placed under a wind advisory through 6 p.m. Forecasters warn gusts may reach up to 50 mph.

Fireball

Are 'drought conditions' really to blame for winter wildfire outbreak across U.S.? Wildfire breaks out in Florida marshland‏

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© WPTV
The fire has spread into an abandoned orange grove.
A 300 acre wildfire is burning in Okeechobee County.

It was first discovered by Florida Forest Service Senior Ranger Gibbs who was scouting smoke plumes, according to the Florida Forest Service.

It is currently threatening a backhoe/tractor and a hunting camp house, the forest service says.

The blaze is now in a marshy area and has slowed down. The fire is approximately 15 miles
northwest of Bassinger.

Comment: There is something seriously weird going on with these winter wildfires as of late. In case you have missed it, here is a sample:
Despite hurricane and record flooding, fire crews dealing with large bog fire near Aberystwyth,Wales
Despite Arctic temperatures, wildfire torches remote building in Woodbury County, Iowa
Wildfire warning issued for Alaska - apparently freeze-dried vegetation can 'spontaneously combust'
Third 'winter wildfire' breaks out in Norway - Second in two days - What is going ON?!
More winter wildfire weirdness as forest fires break out in Oregon
Despite near-freezing temperatures, wildfire rages in Hot Springs, Arkansas


Phoenix

Wildfires break out across Carolinas despite cool temperatures

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© Gastonia Fire Department.
Crews in Gaston County battled a pair of wildfires Wednesday, including a blaze that scorched about 1 1/2 acres on Chespark Drive in north Gastonia.
Authorities say low humidity and gusty winds will create a high risk of wildfires Thursday across the Carolinas.

This comes one day after crews in Gaston County were called to battle a pair of wildfires. One house was destroyed in those blazes, which scorched more than 7 1/2 acres.

Jake Wimberley of the National Weather Service said the relative humidity will be only 15 to 20 percent Thursday across the region. He said westerly winds of 10 to 15 mph are expected, with gusts to 20 mph.

Westerly winds in the Carolinas typically accelerate drying conditions, meteorologists say.

"Fires can quickly get out of hand under these conditions," Wimberley said.

Phoenix

Federal government steps in to deal with record number of wildfires in Western U.S. this winter

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Despite the chilly temperatures and average humidity levels, large wildfires have broken out across the western U.S.
President Barack Obama promised the governors of eight western U.S. states that they'll get the aid they need to deal with droughts and said he wants to change the way funds to battle wildfires are doled out.

Obama told governors of states including Arizona and Colorado during a White House meeting yesterday that the budget proposal he's scheduled to unveil next week will change how wildfire suppression is paid for to give states more certainty that they'll have the resources.

The president will ask Congress to pay the cost of battling such fires the same way the U.S. pays to mitigate other natural disasters, with funding coming outside budget caps, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

"Unfortunately, the current way that the government pays for fire suppression and preparedness costs is ill-suited to the increasing severity and cost of fires," Carney said yesterday at a briefing.

Phoenix

Multiple wildfires break out in chilly south-central Nebraska

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© nebraska.tv
Firefighters were battling winds Tuesday as they worked to knock down a fire on the northern edge of Atlanta.

Crews responded from Holdrege, Loomis, Bertrand and Oxford to contain the blaze.

Officials say about 600 acres burned before the fire was extinguished.

The cause of the blaze is still unknown, but it is believed that it could have been the result of a previous permit burn.

"It's not real likely we know right now what the cause is, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife did have a permit burn out here a couple weeks ago and it may have been a result from that," said Pat Gerdes, director of Region 15 Emergency Management. "The embers and everything have now kicked up because of these high winds. We've had multiple fires across south-central Nebraska today because of it."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department was at the scene to check for hot spots.

Phoenix

New Mexico firefighters scratching their heads as massive wildfire razes 450 acres 5 months too early

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© Greyson Rennels
Fires are also burning across the state line in Muleshoe, Texas
It appears that New Mexico may be in for a long and eventful fire season following a very early start.

Arlene Perea, the fire information officer with the Albuquerque Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team, says fire season doesn't usually start until late April or May.

But very dry conditions and strong winds are creating nearly ideal wildfire conditions.

"Probably the earliest I've ever been out is April," she adds. "We may have small fires, but we don't normally have anything that would cause a need to bring in a team to manage it."

Perea says a nearly 450 acre wildfire about 20 miles south of Albuquerque on the Isleta Pueblo began over the weekend, and as of Wednesday was at least 50 percent contained.

Phoenix

Boulder crews contain half-acre wildfire on Flagstaff Mountain, Colorado

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© Paul Aiken / Daily Camera
Smoke can be seen rising from a fire on Flagstaff Mountain on Tuesday
Boulder crews were able to reach containment on a half-acre wildfire on Flagstaff Mountain near Fifth Street.

Dispatchers received reports of smoke and flames 2 to 3 feet high around 3:30 p.m. at the base of Flagstaff Road, but by about 4:20 p.m. officials on the scene said the fire had been contained and crews were in mop-up duty.

Officials said the fire started on private property, and the cause is unknown at this time.

Flagstaff Mountain Road has been re-opened.

Phoenix

Large grass fire threatens homes in Oklahoma City

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With winds gusting to 40 miles and hour Tuesday, it didn't take much for a Oklahoma City wildfire to get big, fast.

Firefighters say the fire started along 192nd between May and Penn and moved fast toward a nearby neighborhood.

Tim Branch saw the fire over his fence and got to work, doing whatever he could to stop the flames.

"I just don't want my house to catch on fire," he said, using a shovel to dig, creating a fire line. "If it was your house, you'd do the same thing, right?"

Firefighters soon appeared over the same fence, delayed by people on the roads who wouldn't get out of the way.

"We did have a pretty tense situation in the beginning when we were trying to get in here," said OKCFD battalion chief Brian Stanaland. "We were trying to evacuate personnel out here and the people that live here, and they weren't incredibly cooperative, so kind of got in the way a little bit."

That delay allowed flames to get close to several homes.

One home's fence was still on fire about a hour after most of the flames were extinguished. It was no match for the flames---that burned right through it, and right up to the back of the house.

Comment: Interestingly, just prior to the outbreak of this fire, 20 earthquakes were recorded a little way north of the city, accompanied by mysterious booms. See also: Scientists mystified as 20 earthquakes hit Oklahoma in one day


Extinguisher

Maintaining myth they can actually do something about extreme weather, California lawmakers drafting legislation to prevent wildfires

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© Jae C. Hong, AP
Firefighter Jeff Newby sprays water as he battles the flare-ups from a damaging wildfire on Jan. 17 near Azusa, Calif.
With record droughts fueling fears of devastating wildfires in the West, members of Congress from the region are trying to boost chronically underfunded federal fire prevention efforts.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has teamed up with Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, to offer a bill that would stop the vicious cycle of federal agencies raiding fire prevention funds to pay for emergency firefighting efforts.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which was also introduced in the House this month, would create a special disaster fund to fight huge "mega-fires", which make up about 1% of wildfires but use up 30% of fire suppression funds.

The funding change would free up as much as $412 million a year in the Forest Service and Interior Department budgets to prevent fires by thinning the overgrown tree stands and underbrush that fuel the blazes.