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Wildfires

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US: Wildfires Destroy Dozens of Homes in Texas and Oklahoma

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© AP Photo
Fleeing: Cattle move to avoid the flames of a large grass fire Oklahoma City
Wildfires sweeping through parts of Texas and Oklahoma have destroyed dozens of homes and forced hundreds of people to evacuate, and although officials don't yet know what ignited the blazes, a summer heat wave and drought have left both states with the perfect fuel: parched ground and dry vegetation.

"We're in severe drought conditions, so just the tiniest little spark can start a wildfire," Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Saginor said.

The Texas Forest Service warned that the weather could also hamper efforts to contain the fast-moving blaze in North Texas that destroyed at least 20 homes in a lakeside community Tuesday. The fire also was threatening about 125 other homes in the Possum Kingdom Lake area, about 75 miles west of Fort Worth.

"It sounds like we're still going to have winds today," said John Nichols, a spokesman for the service, said before dawn Wednesday. "The one positive thing you can say is that we've got the firefighting forces in places."

Phoenix

US, California: Wildfire near Yosemite grows

Yosemite Wildfire
© ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE
A helicopter finishes drawing water from the Merced River near the confluence of its south fork before dropping the water on an adjacent hillside as efforts continued to fight the Motor fire on Friday.
A rapidly moving wildfire grew on Saturday to about 3,600 acres west of one of the main entrances to Yosemite National Park, prompting voluntary evacuations of the Cedar Lodge hotel, campgrounds and a handful of homes in the Merced River canyon.

Highway 140 - a main entrance into Yosemite - remained closed west of the Foresta Bridge and east of Mariposa because of the fire. Fire officials said they do not know when it will be reopened. Highways 41 and 120 leading into the park were still open.

All park visitor services were unaffected by the fire, officials said.

The blaze, dubbed the Motor fire, was moving rapidly in Dry Gulch Canyon into the upper reaches of Moss Canyon, the U.S. Forest Service said. With containment at 15 percent, fire officials say it will take days to extinguish the blaze.

A motor home that caught fire on Highway 140 on Thursday afternoon sparked the blaze that raced up both sides of the canyon.

Phoenix

US: Wildfire In Cajon Pass, California Scorches More Than 300 Acres

Cajon Pass Brush Fire
© CBS Los Angeles
A wildfire has scorched more than 300 acres and a mobile home in the Cajon Pass Monday afternoon.

The wildfire began on Interstate-15 in the Cajon Pass between Kenwood and Cleghorn at approximately 1:00 p.m., according to San Bernardino National Forest spokesman John Miller. Officials say two structures have also burned.

Crews have contained about 40 percent of the brush fire.

Caltrans says only three of five northbound lanes of I-15 are open and there is a heavy backup. The southbound side is fully open but is also experiencing spectator delays.

Authorities said no one has been injured. Two residents at the Matthews Ranch were asked to evacuate but refused.


Cloud Lightning

US: Lightning sparks 3 wildfires in Bitterroot National Forest, Montana

bitteroot national forest fire
© John McColgan

Lightning sparked three wildfires in the Bitteroot National Forest after Thursday night's storm.

A fire burning in the Sapphire Mountains is about 10 miles northeast of Corvallis. Two engines and 26 firefighters are on the scene. A U.S. Forest Service helincopter dumped water on the six-acre blaze Friday morning.

Another fire is burning near Sula Peak and Forest Road 5728. Six firefighters are working to contain the fire, which has burned less than an acre.

Phoenix

Firefighters continue to battle wildfires in Russia's Far East

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© Photo Federal Forest Resources Agency
Firefighters battle 23 wildfires in Russian Far East
Firefighters have extinguished eight wildfires in the Russian Far East in the past twenty-four hours, but are still battling numerous forest fires in the area, an emergencies ministry spokesman said on Friday.

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© Photo Federal Forest Resources Agency
"Forty one forest fires covering an area of 1,334 hectares were registered in the Far East over the past 24 hours," the spokesman said.

Extinguisher

Canada: Forest Fires Rage, Up to 7000 Likely to be Evacuated

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© (Mitch Miller/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources/The Canadian Press
The fire situation across Northwestern Ontario remains severe. There were twenty new fires reported since yesterday. Across the province the current scope of the area covered by fires is 300,000 hectares. This is a major increase in the scope of fires and sets a new record. Evacuations of communities in the North continue. It is expected that up to 7000 people will be evacuated out of their home communities. There will be people sent, mostly through Thunder Bay to London, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Wawa, Greenstone and other communities with hundreds also expected to stay in Thunder Bay.

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse support the calls for immediate mobilization of resources by all levels of government for the safe evacuation of First Nation communities impacted by forest fires in northwestern Ontario, adding that capacity needs at the community level must be addressed to deal with immediate and long-term emergency response needs.

"The safety and security of First Nation citizens and communities is of primary concern and our thoughts and prayers are with the many people affected by the devastating fires in northwestern Ontario, particularly in Nishnawbe Aski territory," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo speaking today from Vancouver, where he's meeting with provincial and territorial leaders at a meeting of the Council of the Federation.

Phoenix

Canada: Northwestern Ontario wildfires set to spread

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© Mitch Miller/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources/Canadian Press
A forest fire burns Friday about 270 kilometres north-northeast of Sioux Lookout, Ont.
Smoke forces people out of several First Nation communities.

Fire crews in northwestern Ontario are scrambling to contain nearly 100 forest fires amid warnings that dozens of new fires could break out in the days ahead.

Mitch Miller, a fire information officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources, said from Dryden that there are 96 active fires burning in the remote northwestern region.

More than 30 new blazes are expected to break out in the coming days as the fires spread southward.


Bizarro Earth

Israel: Fire rages in Jerusalem Forest, spreading toward oil refinery

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© Nir Hasson
A firefighting plane over the Jerusalem Forest, July 17, 2011
Firefighters are battling a large fire that broke out Sunday in the Jerusalem Forest and Mount Herzl area in the west of the city. The fire is approaching the Har Nof, Bayit Vagan neighborhoods and the Pi Glilot oil refinery.

Rescue teams have evacuated the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial nearby. One worker suffered from smoke inhalation and was taken to the hospital.

The Fire Department spokesman said on Channel 10 that "large teams of firefighters have been deployed in the entire area, and curious onlookers should clear out. Firefighting planes are flying above us in an attempt to put out the fire."

Cloud Lightning

Idaho, US: Lightning Sparks Off Wildfires Across Valley

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© KVTB
Firefighters say lightning is likely responsible for three grass fires early Saturday morning in the Boise area.

Crews responded to a fire off Highway 55 by the Shadow Valley Golf Course, a small grass fire near Broadway and Myrtle and a large fire near Gowen and Orchard.

It made for a busy morning for fire crews, which turned into a busy afternoon as crews continued to fight the fire off Highway 55.

Firefighters said it's just unfortunately that time of year when weather, heat, and fuels combine to create a demand on their resources.

"Last night was very busy when that lightning storm rolled in," said David Cooper, the Boise Fire Battalion Chief. "We had multiple grass fires going on."

Phoenix

Firefighters battle 26 wildfires in Russian Far East

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© RIA Novosti. Alexander Kryazhev
Firefighters battle 26 wildfires in Russian Far East
Firefighters have extinguished ten wildfires in the Russian Far East in the past twenty-four hours and are still battling 26 forest fires in the area, Russia's Emergencies Ministry said on Sunday.

"Satellite monitoring and aircraft surveillance have registered a total of 36 forest fires in the Far East on an area of over 5,700 hectares. Ten fires have been extinguished over the past twenty-four hours on an area of 228 hectares. Firefighters are currently battling 26 forest and tundra fires on an area of over 5,500 hectares," the ministry said.