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Wildfires

Phoenix

US: Colorado wildfire forces evacuation of 9,500 homes

A wind-whipped wildfire forced the evacuation of 9,500 homes southeast of Denver on Thursday just as firefighters were gaining the upper hand on a separate blaze that has burned stubbornly for five days west of the city.

Deputy Michelle Rademacher of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the latest fire has scorched about 1,600 acres in the wooded bluffs near Franktown, Colorado.

"We're not aware of any structures lost, but the high winds are pushing it close to heavily populated neighborhoods, so we called for mandatory evacuations," she said.

The fire grew quickly as sustained winds of 40 miles per hour fanned the flames through dry brush, grasses and trees.

Extinguisher

US: Hawaii wildfire threatens protected rainforest

hawaii,fire
© Unknown
Honolulu - Specialized firefighting teams Wednesday battled a remote wildfire touched off by the eruption of the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, which has burned some 2,000 acres of national park land.

The fire threatens a fragile, protected rain forest, officials said.

Authorities do not know when they will be able to contain the spreading fire, which was being fanned by strong, gusty trade winds, said Gary Wuchner, a spokesman for the National Park Service.

Phoenix

Lava from erupting Hawaii volcano sparks wildfire

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© AP Photo/US Geological Survey
Authorities say lava from a volcano eruption in Hawaii has sparked a wildfire in Volcanoes National Park.

Park firefighters said Monday that the blaze has burned at least 30 hectares since Sunday. They say the lava is from the Kamoamoa eruption.

Park ranger Mardie Lane says the fire is creeping through Ohia forest in an area that has been burned at least twice due to lava flows.

Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has been in constant eruption since Jan. 3, 1983.

Firefi ghters plan to fly over the area Tuesday to assess the situation.

Clock

Colorado wildfire prompts evacuation of 200 homes

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© Associated Press/Will Powers
A fire truck blocks traffic on Left Hand Canuon Road north of Boulder, Colo. Friday, March 11, 2011. High winds on the front range akes the fire difficult to manage. A wildfire that has prompted the evacuation of more than 200 homes north of Boulder, Colo., has spread to about 200 acres.
Boulder, Colo. - A wildfire driven by dry, windy weather scorched at least 200 acres Friday in the foothills west of Boulder, prompting the evacuation of roughly 200 homes.

An air tanker from New Mexico started dropping fire retardant on the flames by afternoon as wind gusts that had reached 60 mph eased to between 20 and 30 mph.

About 100 firefighters also battled the blaze, which was burning near an area where a wildfire charred nearly 10 square miles and destroyed 169 homes in September.

Maribeth Pecotte of the U.S. Forest Service said the fire had grown to between 200 and 300 acres and was threatening 12 structures, none of which were homes. No buildings have been damaged.

Bizarro Earth

One person dead, 110,000 acres burned in Texas wildfires

Firefighters in Texas continued efforts to contain fast-moving wildfires that have destroyed nearly 60 homes, burned more than 110,000 acres and caused an accident that killed a 5-year-old child, state forestry officials said Monday.


The fires broke out about noon Sunday, said Lewis Kearney, a spokesman for the forest service's Texas State Lone Star Incident Management Team. Officials believe many were started by power lines that fell from high winds.

Since that time, forestry officials, who were called in to help local fire departments, have responded to 25 fires in 15 counties across the Texas Panhandle, Kearney said.

Bizarro Earth

Australia in grip of disasters as wildfires, floods wreck havoc

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© unknown
A bushfire burns close to a vineyard in Roleystone, near Perth.
Australia was battling a series of natural and man-made disasters as raging wildfires destroyed over 40 homes on the west coast city of Perth and Victoria was lashed by flashfloods that led to one death, while heavy thunderstorms were threatening to submerge Queensland.

The Meteorology department said heavy rains and possible flash flooding could hit parts of Brisbane, the Somerset area, Ipswich and Lockyer Valley, areas which are already reeling under the recent flooding.

Senior forecaster Rick Threlfall said a major storm was developing around the Marburg and Amberley areas, west of Brisbane, a reported by Herald Sun said quoting experts.

"That storm's not moving too far and it's produced about 40 to 50 mm (rainfall) in the last hour... with those rainfall totals flash flooding is a potential," he said.

"We've also got a storm currently heading towards Toowoomba. That's not looking too severe at the moment," he added.

Phoenix

US: Colorado fire commander says next 36 hours pivotal

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© AP Photo/Ed Andrieski
A slurry bomber drops retardant on a burning ridge as the sun sets behind it as a wildfire burns west of Loveland, Colo., on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010.
Loveland - Officials say the next 36 hours are pivotal for crews to make headway against a fire burning very dry trees and grass in steep terrain of northern Colorado foothills.

Incident team manager Jim Thomas says warm, dry weather is helping fuel the nearly 1,000-acre wildfire near Loveland, and crews are also expecting winds to pick up later Tuesday and into Wednesday.

More than 400 firefighters have been assigned to fight the fire. The team that led the fight against a wildfire that's now contained near Boulder has taken over.

Arrow Down

US: 169 Homes Destroyed in Colorado Wildfire

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© AP Photo/Mark Leffingwell
A home destroyed by a wildfire is shown in an aerial photo over Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010.
Hundreds of residents evacuated by a wildfire that has destroyed at least 169 houses in the Colorado foothills were being temporarily allowed back to their homes Thursday.

Firefighters were also working to make progress containing the fire ahead of strong winds expected later in the day. Gusts of up to 60 mph could blow away the little moisture the area has seen and spread the fire beyond the 20-mile-long perimeter.

Containment lines have been built around 30 percent of the fire, but firefighters warned that progress could be undone.

"The wind event tonight, we could be off to the races," said Rob Bozeman, field observer with the Boulder Mountain Fire Protection District.

Ambulance

Winds push fires through dozens of Detroit homes

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© AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
A burned home is seen through a remaining entryway of another home on Detroit's east side, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010.
Wind-whipped flames swept through at least three Detroit neighborhoods, destroying dozens of homes, including many that were vacant, and even sending waves of searing heat blocks away, officials said.

A thick odor of smoke filled the air Wednesday after the roaring fires, fanned by winds of up to 50 mph, jumped from house to house Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.

There were about 85 fires at homes and garages over a four-hour period, said Dan Lijana, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing.

"It was a freakish day - the wind was tremendous," said City Council President Charles Pugh.

Residents complained of a slow response by the city's emergency responders, but Pugh said the fire department did its best with the resources available.

Detroit fire Capt. Steve Varnas told the Detroit Free Press that some fires may have been caused by dead tree limbs being blown onto power lines. At least one electric company launched an investigation into possible ties between the blazes and its lines.

Ambulance

8 people missing in Colorado wildfire

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© AP Photo/Eric Peter Abramson
In this photo provided by Eric Peter Abramson, a line of buses are destroyed after a wild fire passed through Gold Hill, Colo. on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010.
Boulder - Authorities are searching for eight people who have not been accounted for as a wildfire tore through their neighborhoods this week.

Sheriff's Cmdr. Rich Brough said Wednesday that 20 people were initially reported missing and 12 of them have been accounted for.

It's unclear whether the remaining eight were in some of the 53 homes that have been reported destroyed. Authorities are following up with family members of the missing people and checking homes in the area, and it's still possible they will be located once the checks are complete.

About 3,500 people have been evacuated from about 1,000 homes since the fire broke out Monday.

Firefighters say mapping now shows the blaze is burning on 6,168 acres, or about 9 1/2 square miles. That's about a thousand acres smaller than they had thought.

The new reports about eight people missing and the ever-changing acreage estimates have occurred as people are complaining about a lack of information from authorities about the blaze.

Laura McConnell, a spokeswoman for the fire management team, said as many as 300 firefighters are at the fire and more are on the way. She said they're dealing with downed power lines, debris, poison ivy and rattlesnakes. They also have to be watchful for propane tanks in the area.