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Wildfires

Attention

Forest fire near Los Angeles could burn for days

Angeles National Forest fire
© Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
Fire crews continue fighting Williams blaze in Angeles forest September 3, 2012
Authorities battling a wildfire in the Angeles National Forest more than doubled their deployments Monday, with 700 firefighters attacking the blaze with air tankers and helicopters.

But it will probably take several more days to fully contain the fire, which has burned 3,600 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Azusa, said John D. Wagner, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. He said the steep terrain made firefighting difficult. The blaze remained about 5% contained late Monday.

"It's not really accessible by foot, so we have to do air drops over the area," Wagner said.

Attention

Portugal asks for EU help to tackle dozens of forest fires

Portugal forest fire
© BBC News
Dozens of fires have been raging in the country
Portugal has said it is seeking European Union help to to tackle raging forest fires, in one of the worst summers for such blazes in years.

Dozens of fires are raging in the centre and north of the country and 1,700 firefighters have been deployed.

Phoenix

Thousands of Serb villagers evacuated as wildfires rage unabated

Image
© AFP
Hundreds of wildfires have broken out in recent weeks
Serbia evacuated thousands of villagers on Saturday and called in the army to help fight wildfires raging through the drought-hit western Balkans.

Fires near the southwestern Serbian town of Cacak swept through hillsides and cornfields dried to a crisp by scorching temperatures, forcing the evacuation of three villages, a Reuters correspondent reported.

"I've lost everything," said Mileta Cajic, from the village of Srezojevci. "An entire orchard, woods, raspberries, and now my house is about to go up in flames. This is the worst disaster one could imagine."

Russia sent a Beriev Be-200 fire-fighting plane, with a capacity of 12 tonnes, to join a Russian helicopter that has been in action for days trying to douse the fires.

Phoenix

Wildfires in Spain force 1,000 to evacuate homes in worst fire-ravaged summer for 10 years

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Firefighters battle a blaze in Bedar, Spain
Two wildfires in the south forced the evacuation of around 1,000 residents, making this the worst summer in a decade for countryside devoured by flames, authorities said Sunday.

A fire started near Bedar, 85 kilometres (about 50 miles) north of Almeria, where residents spent the night in a sports centre, regional officials said. Residents and army personnel have collaborated with firefighters in combating the flames, Bedar Mayor Maria Gonzalez said.

Another fire was being brought under control late Sunday near the Mediterranean beach resort of Estepona, about 35 kilometres (20 miles) west of Marbella.

This year, Spain has lost 149,300 hectares (577 square miles) of forest and countryside in more than 11,650 wildfires, compared to around 107,000 hectares (415 square miles) for the whole of 2002, according to official statistics.

Comment: Arson or not, they need a scapegoat to distract people from realising that the enormous cutbacks in public services are largely to blame:

Cuts blamed for deaths caused by devastating Spanish wildfires


Attention

California Governor Declares Wildfire Emergency

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© CalFire
Firefighter at the Ponderosa Fire, August 20, 2012
Sacramento, California - Wildfires that have destroyed homes, forced evacuations and caused road closures prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to issue an emergency proclamation today for three northern California counties at their request.

"I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the fires in the counties of Plumas, Shasta, and Tehama," the governor said in his proclamation. "The fires have destroyed residences and threaten thousands of homes and other structures, causing residents to be evacuated, roads to be closed, and emergency shelters to be opened."

The Ponderosa Fire near Manton in Tehama County has now burned 24,323 acres and is 50 percent contained. The fire was started by lightning on August 18 and has spread to neighboring Shasta County.

Thousands of people have been ordered to leave their homes as the blaze in thick forest threatens rural communities. About 3,500 homes in an area along the border of Tehama and Shasta counties are threatened as the fire continues to expand.

On Saturday, the Shasta County Sheriff's Office closed Highway 44 between Shingletown and Viola and evacuated area residents from at least 700 homes. Since then, security details have been patrolling the evacuated areas and will remain until the residents are allowed to return to their homes.

"At this time it is too early to speculate when Highway 44 road closure will be lifted," the Shasta County Sheriff's Office said this morning. "Law enforcement and fire personnel are evaluating the fire. We are looking at the weather and safety conditions hour by hour in hopes to allow the residents to return to their homes safely."

"Resources are stretched thin and fire suppression activities are still in effect," said the sheriff's office. "We do not want to lift closures prematurely and open up the area with unsafe conditions."

Attention

Heatwave Fuels Wildfires Across Southern Europe

Wildfire France
© Sky News
France: An air tanker spreads water above a forest fire in a devastated area near the French sea resort of Lacanau on the Atlantic coast.
The Greek secret service is called in to investigate arson as firefighters tackle blazes that are raging across southern Europe.


Wildfires have been spreading across southern Europe, fuelled by the hot, dry climate.

Firefighters in Spain are struggling to cope with the country's worst blazes in a decade while thousands of acres of forest are being destroyed by fires spreading across Greece.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of emergency has been declared around a town in the northeast of the country, as fires have left many residents suffering heat exhaustion.

Sun

Southern France Struggles With Extreme Heat, Wildfires

French authorities are fighting wildfires, keeping an eye on isolated elderly populations and advising people to drink fluids as temperatures soar. Heat wave warnings were issued for a swath of central and southern France, from Burgundy to the Pyrenees. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 104 degrees in some areas.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning-sparked huge fire burns to edge of 3 small California towns

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© AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Firefighter Chuck Mitchell hoses down a hot spot of the Ponderosa Fire near Viola, Calif., Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. More than 1,400 fire fighters are battling the fire that has destroyed seven homes, burned 23 square miles. The fire that started Saturday is just 5 percent contained.
Aided by a shift in wind direction, firefighters made a stand against a huge lightning-sparked wildfire burning on the edge of three small Northern California towns. The blaze, which has destroyed seven homes and threats continued to threaten thousands of homes, as fearful residents sought safety miles away at an emergency shelter. The fire that started Saturday had grown to more than 30 square miles and was 35 percent contained Tuesday morning.

"All we can do is pray," evacuee Jerry Nottingham told reporters. Still, with more firefighters arriving on the scene and shifting winds helping to keep the blaze away from homes, officials said fire crews were able to improve their lines around the wildfire. "We definitely made some good progress today building around this fire," state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said late Monday.

The fast-moving Ponderosa Fire was one of many burning across the West, where lightning, dry temperatures and gusting winds have brought an early start to fire season.

Nearly 1,900 firefighters were battling the blaze in rugged, densely forested terrain as it threatened 3,500 homes in the towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola, about 170 miles north of Sacramento.

"These are the largest number of homes we've had threatened so far this year," state fire spokesman Berlant said. "The grass, brush and timber up here are so dry, and once the lightning with no rain struck, the flames began to spread quickly."

Melted satellite dishes, the remains of burned furniture and charred refrigerators could be seen in some homes in the rural area.

Attention

Firefighters Battle to Contain Wildfire on Greek Island

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While thick black smoke billows from the mountains and acres of forest go up in flames, these two girls can only watch helplessly from the beach.

The Greek holiday island of Chios has been hit by wildfire, with villages evacuated and tourists forced to flee as strong winds fan the flames.

More than 200 firefighters, soldiers and volunteers are battling to control the devastating blaze, which began in the early hours of Friday.

At least three villages and tourist resorts have been evacuated and residents can only watch from the beach as fire consume the island.

Sun

Fire crews battle wildfires blazing across Western US

Image
© Kari Greer/US Forest Service/Reuters


Flames from the Trinity Ridge Fire in the Boise National Forest engulf trees near Pine and Featherville, Idaho, Aug. 17.
As a flurry of wildfires rage across the Western United States, firefighters on Monday were trying to gain control of the 15,000-acre Ponderosa fire in Northern California that began over the weekend.

Firefighters have only been able to contain five percent of the blaze, which is burning across both Tehama and Shasta counties.

The fire began on Saturday after lighting strikes hit the densely forested area about 170 miles north of Sacramento, according to The Associated Press. So far, it has engulfed more than 23 square miles near the Northern Californian towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola, AP reported.

Seven structures have been destroyed. CAL FIRE spokesman Daniel Berlant said at least 3,000 homes remain threatened along with more than 300 other structures, AP said.