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Fri, 19 Jul 2019
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Wildfires


Fire

Wildfires force evacuation of hundreds of homes in Israel

Fire fighters try to extinguish a forest fire near Moshv Aderet, Israel
© Flash90/Noam Revkin Fenton
Fire fighters try to extinguish a forest fire near Moshv Aderet, July 17, 2019.
Extreme heat caused fires to rage across Israel on Wednesday, as police evacuated residents throughout the country from hundreds of homes, 15 of which caught fire.

A fire broke out mid afternoon in a parking lot in Jerusalem's Malha neighborhood, setting 10 cars aflame. Within 45 minutes, the Fire and Rescue Services brought the blaze under control, preventing it from spreading to nearby vegetation and buildings.

The Aderet and Roglit settlements close to Jerusalem, and the Shavei Shomron settlement in the West Bank, were evacuated due to fires that reached houses there. Flames were eventually subdued in all three locations.

Five houses caught on fire at the Ramat Pinkas neighborhood in Or Yehuda close to Tel Aviv. Police attempted to evacuate residents while firefighters gained control of the flames. Several residents were rescued and treated for wounds at the scene.

The first massive fire broke out in the Nesher neighborhood of Haifa near the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, forcing police to temporarily close Route 2, as the school's security forces sent an evacuation notice to students on campus. Two men suffered light injuries due to inhaling smoke and were treated by MDA personnel on the scene.


Fire

Hawaii wildfire forces thousands to evacuate Maui towns

Smoke from the fire closes Kuihelani highway in central Maui
© Matthew Thayer/AP
Smoke from the fire closes Kuihelani highway in central Maui.

Brush fire of 1,200 hectares burns out of control through island's central valley


Thousands of people on Maui have been ordered to evacuate two towns in the path of a spreading wildfire, Hawaiian officials and media said.

The 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) brush fire in the island's central valley was uncontrolled on Thursday night, Maui's mayor, Mike Victorino, told a news conference. Firefighters were monitoring it overnight but it was too dangerous to battle in the dark, he added.

"We can't fight the fire tonight," he said. "We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way."

A National Weather Service satellite photo showing smoke hanging over the island was posted online.

The brush fire was reported at about 10.30am and steady winds of up to 20mph fanned the flames, officials said. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush. Two fire department helicopters dropped water on the blaze to try to contain it.


Sun

Baked Alaska: Anchorage breaks all-time temperature record amid heatwave

wildfires
It's not only Western Europe that has been experiencing a record-breaking heatwave.

Whilst we normally think of Alaska as largely freezing and snow-covered, the US's northernmost state is forecast to bake in temperatures reaching 30.5 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher over the next five days, stretching from July 4 through July 8, according to the National Weather Service.

Its largest city, Anchorage, broke its all-time temperature record on Friday, reaching 31 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit) at the city's airport.

The previous record was also set in the airport on June 14, 1969, and reached a temperature of 29.4 degrees Celsius (84.9 degrees Fahrenheit).

Comment: More record-breaking heat and wildfire smoke forecast for Alaska


Fire

Spain: Catalonia battles worst wildfire in 20 years amid heatwave

Hilly terrain, high temperatures and strong
© Jordi Borras/AP
Hilly terrain, high temperatures and strong winds have frustrated firefighters' efforts to contain the blaze
The still-raging blaze has devoured more than 5,500 hectares of land, forcing people to evacuate and killing animals.

Catalan firefighters are battling the worst wildfire the Spanish region has seen in 20 years as Europe swelters in the grip of an intense heatwave.

Hundreds of firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire in the northeastern region of Catalonia on Friday that has scorched more than 5,500 hectares of land and forced the evacuation of some 53 residents.

A day earlier, authorities warned that the blaze, which began on Wednesday afternoon, could easily devour 20,000 hectares if it was not contained.


Fire

Underground fire triggers panic in Uttar Pradesh, India

fire
An underground fire in Mohammadi range forests of Uttar Pradesh left scores of neighbouring villagers panicked and puzzled.

Smoke was seen gushing out through the cracks in the ground and at some places land had turned into embers, said residents of Bela Pahara and Muda Galib villages in South Kheri forest division.

72-year-old Hukum Singh of Muda Galib said he has never been witness to such a scene. He feared that the fire may damage his crops.

Another villager, Bhai Lal (75), termed the scene as a natural miracle, which he had never heard of or seen earlier. Some villagers also mistook it as a volcanic incident.

Fire

Canadian wildfires are already turning sunsets red in the US

Wildfire in northern Alberta
© The Canadian Press
The fire in northern Alberta.
The calendar hasn't turned to summer yet, but skies in Canada and across the U.S. already look like August. Smoke from massive Canadian wildfires has made the sun disappear in Edmonton and turned Friday's sunrise blood red as far east as Vermont.

More than 900,000 acres of Alberta has gone up in flames, the latest symptom of our overheating planet. Wildfire risk continues to be high in the province as well as neighboring British Columbia where a heat wave has temperatures climbing into the 90s for parts of the province through the weekend.

There are currently 10 fires in Alberta raging out of control according to the province's fire agency. The largest of which is the Chuckegg Creek Fire burning in the northwest part of the province. The blaze, combined with others in the High Level fire district, has consumed more than 610,000 acres as of Thursday according to the agency, and along with the other wildfires in the province, forced 10,000 to flee from their homes.

The province remains on a Level 5 alert, the highest alert level the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) issues, due to a combination of factors including dangerous weather, high fuel loads, and inadequate resources to respond to any new fires. The country as a whole remains on a Level 3 alert, and with a hot, dry weekend ahead for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of the Yukon Territory, the threat of more conflagrations remains acute.


Comment: See also:


Fire

Israel seeks the assistance of 'friendly' countries to assist with deadly wildfires

israeli wildfires
© Reuters / Amir Cohen
Tel Aviv is considering seeking help from "friendly" neighbors as the country was hit by an extreme heatwave and subsequent wildfires that have already destroyed dozens of houses and displaced some 3,500 people.

Raging fires forced evacuation of several small towns in central Israel on Thursday. The blazes affected wooded areas between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with firefighter crews and airplane tankers trying to push back the flames. Some 22 people have been reportedly hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

The fires have been triggered by unusually high temperatures that surged to 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 F) near Jerusalem and even 43.5 degrees Celsius (110.3 F) outside Tel Aviv, according to the Israel Meteorological Service.

Fire

Toxic smoke hangs over Mexico City as wildfires burn

Mexico City wildfire smoke
© The Weather Channel
The government of Mexico City has issued alerts for poor air quality since Friday as a result of a series of forest fires that have broken out in and around the most populated city in North America.

Outdoor activities were affected during the course of the weekend, and continues, due to a dense layer of smoke that has enveloped much of the city. Videos posted on social media showed how dense the smoke was that hung in the air over Mexico's capital city.

The situation is especially dangerous because, as reported by the Ministry of the Environment, the air is contaminated with high levels of ash particles, which can cause respiratory problems and other diseases by inhalation.


Fire

Wildfires scorch over 44,000 hectares across Russia

Russia wildfires
© YouTube/RT (screen capture)
Wildfires have scorched over 44,000 hectares in 18 Russian regions, the Federal Aerial Forest Protection Service (Avialesokhrana) said in a statement on Saturday, adding that 155 forest fires had been extinguished in the previous 24 hours.

"As of May 11, 2019, a total of 54 forest fires are active in Russia, which engulf 44,245 hectares, active efforts are underway to extinguish the fires," the statement reads.

As many as 17 forest fires have been registered in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region, while the number of wildfires active in the Kurgan, Irkutsk and Trans-Baikal region ranges from four to six. Firefighting activities involve 3,600 personnel and 835 pieces of equipment.

The fire season has begun in 77 Russian regions. A state of emergency has been declared in six regions, namely the Kurgan, Trans-Baikal, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Tuva regions, as well as in certain districts of the Chelyabinsk region, the Federal Aerial Forest Protection Service pointed out.


Comment: Raging wildfires in Russia's Trans-Baikal region have killed thousands of animals; national parks and conservation sites threatened


Fire

'Unprecedented' wildfire season has begun in Washington, US

Wildfires
© Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
The wildfire season is off to a busy start, and state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz calls it unprecedented. With record money recently approved at the state and federal level, KIRO 7 is looking into what that means for the firefight this season.

"So far to date we've had 170 fires in Washington state," Franz told KIRO 7. "Fifty-three percent of them west of the Cascades and I have to stress that is a new phenomenon. We're not used to having that many fires west of the Cascades and we're not used to having that many fires early in the season."

The state legislature approved a record $50 million in its recent budget, and Congress and President Donald Trump approved $2 billion over the next eight years. That federal money is available staring this season.

"I was just back in D.C. last week thanking them for their leadership on that," Franz said.

Much of the federal money will provide more drones, and KIRO 7 has showed you how drones help fight wildfires. Infrared technology pinpoints hot spots in real-time. Normally firefighters have to take a glove off and use the back of their hands, feeling the ground for hot spots.

Comment: Meanwhile with insurance claims of $12bn, last year's wildfires were the most expensive in California history.