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Sun, 23 Jan 2022
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Wildfires

Question

"Interesting situation, fighting fires in the wintertime" - Oregon firefighters finally get Shady Cove wildfire under control

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Some snow remains on the ground and some creeks are still frozen, yet these fires burned right next to them?...
A wildfire that broke out Thursday in logging debris on private timberlands northeast of Shady Cove and grew to 125 acres was contained by fire crews over the weekend.

Oregon Department of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service firefighters have completed fire lines around most of the Alder Creek fire, ODF spokesman Brian Ballou said Monday. The fire started in piles of logging debris that were lighted in late November and early December, according to Grayback Forestry President Mike Wheelock, who also sent crews to help battle the blaze.

The fire about 15 miles up Elk Creek Road drew at least two 20-person hand crews, one bulldozer, seven engines and two water tenders. The blaze left some areas untouched, including spots where snow remained on the ground or creeks were still frozen.

"Interesting situation, fighting fires in the wintertime," Ballou said.

He added seeing a wildfire this early in the year is unusual.

Phoenix

'Winter wildfire' torches 70 acres in Union Country, South Carolina - where daytime temperature is currently 31F! - cause unknown

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© FOX Carolina
The fire as seen from Bentley Town Road and Bald Rock Road in Union Co., Jan. 27, 2014
Firefighters in Union County and surrounding areas battled a brush fire that torched over 50 acres of land on Monday afternoon.

Union County Sheriff David Taylor said the fire was first called in at 2 p.m. and spread rapidly, burning 50 to 70 acres of land off Bentle Town Road.

By nightfall, Taylor said most of the fire was under control after firefighter from multiple counties responded to the blaze. Scott Hawkins of the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC) said they sent six units to help in the suppression of the wildfire.

Better Earth

Catastrophic fire danger warning issued as states brace for another heatwave in Australia

Australia heatwave
© Earth Observatory/AAP
Satellite data showing the extent of the last heatwave.
A catastrophic fire danger warning has been issued as parts of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales face another heatwave with temperatures set to hit 45 degrees in some areas.

By Tuesday, the area around the Victoria-NSW border will be experiencing a "severe" heatwave, according the the Bureau of Meteorology's new pilot program tracking the progress of heatwaves.

That area will expand across much of the inland border area and to inland Western Australia by Friday.

Forecasted strong winds in parts of South Australia have prompted the country fire service to issue a catastrophic fire danger warning on Tuesday for the lower south-east.

Extinguisher

'Unprecedented' for January: Wildfire breaks out in middle of the night in cold mountains of California

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© North Lake Tahoe Protection District
Firefighters have contained a small wildland fire that flared up north of Incline Village early Friday morning.

Firefighters with the cold mountains of California Fire Protection District first got a report of the fire around 2:30 am.

It was burning above the Allison Subdivision near Ralston Court and Jennifer Street.

Crews took more than an hour and a half to reach the fire's edge after hiking about a mile through thick and heavy vegetation.

And they got it contained pretty quickly, though it continued to put up smoke for a while afterward.

Firefighters say our drought conditions can mean fires can start even in January. "This is one of the driest water years on record, this is really unprecedented for this area. Hopefully we get some moisture soon," says John Washington of the U.S. Forest Service.

Firefighters urge campers to only light campfires in designated campgrounds, and say it's important for homeowners to create defensible space around their property.

No structures were threatened.

The U.S. Forest Service has taken command of this fire.

The cause remains under investigation. If anyone has information regarding this incident, call Assistant Fire Marshal, Mark Regan at 775-461-6200.

Bizarro Earth

Winter wildfire weirdness continues as warnings spread to chilly Arkansas

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Forecasters say Arkansas is still at risk for wildfires despite chilly temperatures with subzero wind chill values in some areas.

A red flag warning is in effect in Carroll, Benton, Washington and Madison counties. The National Weather Service says northwest Arkansas will see strong and gusty winds of up to 35 mph on Friday, along with low humidity values of 15 to 25 percent.

Forecasters warn that the dry vegetation and windy weather will combine to create dangerous wildfire conditions through Friday afternoon.

Thirty-two Arkansas counties now have burn bans in effect, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission says much of the state is at a high risk of wildfire danger.

Crusader

Cross all that remains standing amid California wildfire that destroyed 1,700 acres

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© Ryland Talamo, CBN News
Amid the flames caused by wildfires in Southern California near Azusa Pacific University stands a 10- to 12-foot cross on top of a mountain peak
Wildfires in Southern California near Azusa Pacific University have claimed at least 1,700 acres and destroyed at least six homes.

But amid the flames, one iconic structure is still standing.

A 10- to 12-foot cross on top of a mountain peak in the Azusa mountains is visible for miles. The cross was originally erected in 2007, and many local residents often hike up to the lookout spot where it stands overlooking the San Gabriel Valley.

This week, flames ripped through the area and the cross appeared to be lost, according to early local reports. But the wood structure, which has become a fixture on Azusa Peak, survived unscathed.

"Everything in the mountains is burnt and gone, including the "A" for Azusa. After houses were burnt down, hundreds evacuated and the city covered in smoke, there was one thing left, not only standing, but untouched. God is good, God is powerful and God is worthy of all praise," one local person posted on Facebook.

Phoenix

Fire devours historic Norwegian village, 90 people hospitalized

 A fire blasts over a house, destroying many of the famed 18th- and 19th-century wooden houses
© AFP Photo / NTB / Arne Veum Norway
A fire blasts over a house, destroying many of the famed 18th- and 19th-century wooden houses in the village Laerdal, southern Norway, on January 19, 2014.
Ninety people have been treated in hospital and 30 properties burnt to the ground in a massive fire in the western Norwegian village Laerdal, on Sognefjord fjord listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Scores of people have been evacuated from the heritage village of 1,150 as around 100 personal from the emergency services battle to put out the flames. Police also fear that gas canisters at a nearby industrial facility may explode and the area has been cordoned off.

The work of firefighters is being hampered by strong winds and police told Norwegian TV they were trying to bring in a helicopter to help contain the fire but that it was being delayed by media drones, which were operating in the area.

Frog

Winter wildfire destroys homes near Los Angeles

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© Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
A helicopter makes a water drop on the Colby Fire in Glendora, California
A fast-moving California wildfire, started accidentally by three campers, roared out of control in foothills above Los Angeles on Thursday, destroying five homes and forcing some 3,600 residents to flee, fire and law enforcement officials said.

The wind-whipped blaze began before dawn in the Angeles National Forest north of Glendora, about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

By mid-morning, the so-called Colby Fire had blackened more than 1,700 acres of drought-parched brush and vegetation, Los Angeles County fire officials said. A thick pall of black smoke hung over eastern Los Angeles County, stretching west over the Pacific Ocean.

But as winds diminished and temperatures cooled later in the day some 700 firefighters, aided by eight fixed-wing aircraft and seven helicopters, were able to keep the flames from advancing any further.

Comment: Wildfires in winter? Right after 'polar vortexes'?! What's going ON with this weather?!


Red Flag

Small wildfires sweep across Southern California

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© AP Photo/Coast Guard Station Rio Vista, Petty Officer Loumania Stewart
n this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a brush fire on Kimball Island in the San Joaquin River, Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.
As Santa Ana winds made moisture plunge, plant life wither and wildfire danger soar, Southern California firefighters pounced on several small blazes before they could surge, though another day of dryness awaited.

The Santa Anas, generated by strong surface pressure anchored over the West, were predicted to remain at advisory levels until noon Wednesday. Red-flag warnings for fire danger were expected to remain in effect until Wednesday evening.

Tuesday's wildfires also struck an unusually arid and windy Northern California, where a fire on the small Kimball Island between San Francisco and Sacramento engulfed at least one of the island's 20 buildings and was threatening others, Solano County fire dispatcher Robyn Rains said.

CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that firefighters say the latest round of fires in the state is the direct result of severe drought conditions throughout the West Coast that have extended fire season longer than normal.

"The lack of rain and the unseasonably dry conditions just makes fire conditions just as bad as in the middle of fire season," said Scott Bahrenfuss of the Rio Vista Fire Department.

The U.S. Coast Guard was helping with evacuations, and Delta Fire Protection District crews had difficulty getting to the blaze because the site is was only accessible by boat.

Attention

Wildfire shuts down Interstate 80 in Nebraska

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High winds Tuesday pushed a wildfire onto Interstate 80 in central Nebraska and toppled a tractor trailer in western Iowa, tying up interstate traffic in both cases.

Meanwhile, forecasters said to be prepared for "even stronger winds," issuing a high wind watch for Thursday.

The wildfire, whipped by 30 mph winds, closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 80 near Aurora for about one hour.

Area firefighters fought the large grass fire, which started on the north side of the interstate near Hampton at about 2:40 p.m., according to the Nebraska State Patrol office in Grand Island.

Westbound lanes of the interstate were closed at the Hampton interchange and traffic was briefly detoured. Eastbound traffic continued to move slowly through the area.

The fire was brought under control and the westbound lanes were re-opened at about 3:40 p.m., a State Patrol dispatcher said.

Patrol Lt. Bill Keeling said the grass fire was big enough to obscure visibility in the westbound lanes of the interstate. He did not know what caused it.

Comment: See also: Take cover! Meteor fireballs rain down across U.S. - Outbreaks of wildfires reported