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Wed, 20 Feb 2019
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Fire

Curfews imposed in Chile as 5 simultaneous wildfires spiral out-of-control

Chile wildfires

Chile wildfires tear through Valparaiso on Pacific coast in 2014
In central regions of Chile, a curfew has been imposed due to forest fires going out-of-control in urban areas. The Chilean has already killed 2 last week. Two days ago, 5 fires have started simulteneously and are now threatening buildings in Penco and San Pedro de la Paz. Residents had to flee the flames. Regional authorities suspect arson as the cause of the fire and have introduced a curfew from 11:00pm to 7:00am in 10 provincial communes.


Fire

Major wildfire engulfs forest in Chernobyl's EXCLUSION ZONE

Sign warns about high levels of radiation
© AFP / Genya Savilov
A sign warns about high levels of radiation in a forest located in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
A major blaze has broken out in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone - the site of the worst nuclear disaster in human history. The fire hit a forest some 20 kilometers away from the ill-famed nuclear power station.

The blaze inside Chernobyl's 'dead zone' in northern Ukraine started on Sunday when dry grass caught fire, the Ukrainian emergency service said in a statement. The blaze then reached a forest near the abandoned village of Bychki located some 24km (15 miles) away from the damaged nuclear reactor.

Some 5 hectares (12 acres) of forest went up in flames. Three firefighting vehicles and 18 emergency crew members were dispatched to tackle the blaze, according to the emergency service's statement.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an area heavily contaminated by the disaster, has repeatedly witnessed wildfires over recent years. A large fire broke out there in June 2018. Another blaze, which scorched 25 hectares (60 acres) of land, hit it in 2017.

Fire

Floods, fire and drought: Australia bearing the brunt of rise in extreme weather

australia flood
© Dan Peled/EPA
Residents wade through floodwaters in the suburb of Hermit Park in Townsville this week.
Amid record temperatures, severe flooding and devastation of wilderness, the political message from the government is business as usual

The people of Townsville know about heavy rain, but this was new. Over the past fortnight, the northern Queensland city's 180,000 residents have been hit by a monsoon strengthened by a low-pressure front that dragged moist air south from the equator to Australia's top end.

It dumped an unprecedented 1.4 metres of rain in less than two weeks - roughly double what falls on London in a year.

The ensuing chaos has wrecked homes and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to property. Two men have drowned and videos posted to social media have shown crocodiles climbing trees and taking to elevated highways in search of shelter.

But amid the deluge, not everyone heeded the evacuation advice.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Fire

New Zealand is battling its worst wildfire in more than 60 years

wildfire on New Zealand’s South Island
© Reuters
A firefighter puts out a blaze during a week-long wildfire on New Zealand’s South Island.
A massive bushfire has churned through more than 5,600 acres on New Zealand's South Island in what is believed to be the country's worst forest fire since 1955, BBC reports.

A state of emergency was declared on Feb. 6, two days after the Pigeon Valley Fire began near the city of Nelson. As of Monday, the blaze was still scorching the island's arid countryside, but as firefighting conditions improved, around 3,000 evacuated residents were allowed to return home.

Local MP Nick Smith described the region as a "tinderbox" and said 70,000 residents in the fire's range remain "on edge."

Twenty-three helicopters and two planes have reportedly been deployed to combat the blaze in the nation's largest aerial firefight on record, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Fire chiefs have warned that the flames could continue until March.

The bushfire follows a heatwave that saw some areas of New Zealand sweating out 90°F days last month. The New Zealand Drought Index reports "extremely dry" conditions in the Nelson area, which has reportedly been parched since November 2018.


Fire

Dozens of out-of-control fires tear through Tasmania, Australia

The blaze at Miena has been bought fought by crews on the ground and in the air.
© Claude Road Fire Brigade
The blaze at Miena has been bought fought by crews on the ground and in the air.
Fire crews in Tasmania are preparing for what is expected to be the most dangerous day for bushfires due to hot and windy weather.

Residents have been told to enact their bushfire survival plans with 29 out-of-control fires burning across the state.

The bushfires have already ripped through more than 66,000 hectares, creating a line of fire more than 800 kilometres long.

A total fire ban remains in place.


Info

Earth's magnetic field may be headed for a cataclysm says latest French study

Earth's Magnetic Field
© NASA Goddard – CC BY 2.0
We've reported on Earth's magnetic field before, including studies claiming that the planet's poles may reverse at any time and studies saying that Earth is probably not headed for a polar reversal at all. At the heart of these studies is the undeniable, millennia-old weakening trend in the planet's magnetic field, which, depending on your point of view, is either a temporary phenomenon that will eventually reverse itself (as it has in the past), or the harbinger of a cataclysmic breakdown of the Earth's entire magnetic shield and a subsequent flip of the magnetic poles.

The most recent study from the EDIFICE project, a geophysical research initiative based in France, claims we're headed for a cataclysm. According to Dr. Nicolas Thouveny, one of the principal investigators for EDIFICE: "The geomagnetic field has been decaying for the last 3,000 years. If it continues to fall down at this rate, in less than one millennium we will be in a critical (period)."

Fire

'Catastrophic' bushfires tear through Queensland, Australia - Evacuations ordered

queensland bushfires

Firefighters have been brought in from interstate to deal with the crisis, which is far from over with hot conditions expected to continue for days
Nearly 10,000 people have been told to flee immediately as more than 100 fast-moving blazes tear through Queensland amid the state's bushfire crisis.

Thousands of people were evacuated from communities in central Queensland after catastrophic fire conditions on Wednesday.

Early on Thursday, residents of two more communities - Campwin Beach and Sarina Beach south of Mackay - were woken by police and emergency text messages telling them they were in danger and to move to safety immediately.

About 140 bushfires were burning across an almost 2,000km stretch from Yungaburra, south of Cairns, to Mount French, west of the Gold Coast.


Comment: Right now Australia seems to be experiencing all four seasons, and their extremes, in one: Although summer in the northern hemisphere saw similar conditions with devastating drought and wildfires, and even epic flooding: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: California Wildfires, Climate Change, And The Impossible Brexit


Fire

Video of tannerite explosion igniting Arizona Sawmill fire released by Forest Service

AZ sawmill fire

More than 160 people were evacuated from different locations affected by the Sawmill Fire.
New video of the baby gender reveal party gone wrong on Arizona state land near the Santa Rita Mountains foothills has been released by the U.S. Forest Service.

Back in April, U.S. Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey allegedly started the Sawmill Fire after he reportedly shot an explosive compound known as Tannerite. Dickey said the blaze, which burned nearly 47,000 state land for more than a week, was started at Dickey's baby's gender reveal party.


Fire

Queensland bushfires: Hundreds evacuated amid 'unprecedented' weather conditions

Queensland bush fire
© Facebook/Shaz Morris
Queensland bush fire.
Hundreds of Australians have evacuated their homes due to bushfires amid "unprecedented" weather conditions in the state of Queensland, officials say.

About 40 bushfires are burning across the state following a heatwave, said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

The most serious blaze, 450km (280 miles) north of Brisbane, has destroyed at least two homes, damaged four others and prompted evacuation orders.

The conditions have been described as "highly unusual" for this time of year.

The largest bushfire is about 50km long and has burnt through approximately 11,000 hectares in the Deepwater National Park.

It began on Saturday and is expected to remain a threat in coming days. Most of the other bushfires are being contained, authorities said.

Unlike in Australia's drier south, intense fire conditions are unusual in Queensland in late November because it is the wet season.


Comment: Thundersnow, bushfires, heatwaves, dust storms: What is going on with Australia's weather?


Cloud Precipitation

California wildfires: Rain brings threat of mudslides

Paradise recovery efforts
© GETTY IMAGES
The rain is expected to hamper recovery efforts in fire-ravaged areas such as Paradise
Rain has come to northern California, helping to contain deadly wildfires but bringing fears of mudslides that may complicate recovery efforts.

Some four to six inches of rain (10-15cm) are expected to fall in the coming days, and some areas have been warned to prepare for flash flooding.

At least 80 people died in the fires that swept across the state.

More than 500 people remain unaccounted for after the so-called Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise.

Workers have been combing through the debris from more than 10,000 homes that were burned down by the fire.

The rain that began to fall on Wednesday is the first significant downpour for the state in about six months.

It came as a relief to those less affected by the fires. By Wednesday afternoon, it had cleared smoke from the air that had closed many schools in San Francisco, the New York Times reports.

Jim Mackensen of the US Forest Service said the rain would slow the spread of the wildfires "to the point that we'll be able to finish up the firefighting operations pretty quickly".

Comment: Fears over mudslides in areas devastated by the California wildfires (Camp Fire - the deadliest in the states's history and the Woolsey Fire) are well founded. In January this year a deluge finally rendered the Thomas wildfire - then California's largest-ever '100% contained' producing instant and devastating mudflows that swept to the ocean.

See also: California Mudslides, a Sign of Worse to Come?