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Three injured, hundreds evacuated as Southern California wildfire rages

© 10news.com
A wind-whipped California wildfire that doubled in size overnight torched 15 buildings east of Los Angeles, injured at least five people and forced the evacuation of 500 homes in about half a dozen small communities, authorities said on Thursday.

The fire broke out on Wednesday near a back-country road in Riverside County, and by early Thursday had blackened more than 10,000 acres, the Riverside County Fire Department said on its website.

Four firefighters and one civilian have been hurt in the blaze, which is raging through tinder-dry brush and is just ten percent contained. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Vista Grande, Mount Edna, Poppet Flats, Twin Pines and Silent Valley were among several communities under mandatory evacuation orders as the fire burned toward Cabazon, a city of 2,500 residents about 20 miles west of Palm Springs.

"The dry conditions right now that we are seeing are allowing the fire to burn very quickly, then you add the gusting winds ... and it is pushing the fire further and further to the east," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlandt said.


Fires in Idaho

© Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC
Forest fires continue to plague the hot, dry western part of the United States this summer. In Idaho, several fires were spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite on July 20, 2013. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS's thermal bands, are outlined in red.

The Lodgepole Fire was detected at noon on Saturday, July 20. Local fire resources were dispatched to the scene where aggressive fire suppression efforts were put into place. The fire is currently burning in lodge pole pine and dispersed Douglas fir. Currently 650 acres have burned and the cause of this fire is under investigation.

The 3,060 acre Ridge Fire has been burning since July 18, the result of a lightning strike. It is currently 7% contained. Fire crews are being helicoptered into the remote, steep location to fight the fire.


Heatwave: city centre road melts and wildfires blaze across Britain

With wildfires spreading across the country and even some roads melting, the death toll from Britain's heatwave continues to rise.

A 15-year-old boy is thought to have drowned in a river in the latest heatwave water death.

The teenager was airlifted to hospital after the incident in Roe Valley Country Park near Limavady, Northern Ireland, yesterday afternoon, but died in hospital.

It takes the death toll of water-related deaths to 14 since Britain's longest heatwave for seven years began.

According to Public Health England, 650 people died in the hot weather from July 6 to July 14, with more deaths likely to have added to that tally in recent days.


Electrical storm causes fire in Almeria province, Spain

electrical storm almeria
A violent electrical storm was the cause of a bush fire this morning in the province of Almeria. Fire planes have been working since dawn to extinguish six points of fire that are still burning being fanned by strong winds in the area.

The zone affected is scrubland with little vegetation and quite a distance from the nearest populated area in the Huercal-Overa region.

Javier Madrid who is co-ordinating the work by INFOCA said that there was no risk to homes or people but that some families had been evacuated as a safety precaution.

According to the authorities, last night's storm caused over 2,000 lightening strikes which set off three major fires in Turre, Mojacar and Huercal Overa.

Bizarro Earth

Largest Nevada fires still growing near Vegas, Reno

Fire crews worked Tuesday to stop two large Nevada wildfires advancing through rugged mountain areas, including one that billowed smoke visible from downtown Las Vegas and another southwest of Reno, while administrators added resources and began looking to the weather to help contain flames.

Fifty firefighters were added to the lines on the Carpenter 1 Fire on Mount Charleston northwest of Las Vegas, bringing to more than 800 the number of personnel battling a blaze identified as the top priority in the West, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jay Nichols said.
© Steve Marcus
Smoke from the Mount Charleston wildfire is shown against the mountains in this view looking north on Rainbow Boulevard at sunset Monday, July 8, 2013.
"We've got a fire running from 11,000 feet to about 5,000 feet," Nichols said of the elevation of the blaze sparked by lightning July 1 and still just 15 percent contained eight days later. He said some of the increase in the fire size was due to backfires set to burn forest fuel and protect homes.

The fire area of almost 31 square miles was nearly the size of Manhattan. It charred pinion, juniper and bristlecone pine forest in steep territory and crept to within about a mile about 400 homes in mountain hamlets. More than 500 residents and another 98 teenagers at a youth correctional camp remained evacuated since the weekend. State highways into the area are closed.


Extensive forest fires prompt smog warnings in southern Ontario, Quebec


The National Capital region was shrouded in haze on July 2nd
Hazy, smoggy conditions settled down over southern Ontario and southern Quebec Tuesday, caused by forest fires burning in northern Quebec.

A smog warning is in effect for most of southwestern Quebec - from Gatineau to Montreal to Drummondville - and a smog advisory has already been effect for eastern Ontario, which was expanded all the way through Toronto and Hamilton.

Typically, smog warnings and advisories are caused by stagnant weather conditions causing industrial and car pollution to build up and 'cook' into ozone, fine particulate matter and a mix of other pollutants. However, according to CBC News, this current advisory is mostly due to smoke that is blowing into the warning areas from an extensive forest fire near James Bay, which has consumed around 250,000 hectares of land so far.


18 specialist firefighters killed battling Arizona wildfire

Yarnell fire
© AP/The Arizona Republic
June 30, 2013: Flames top a ridge as the Yarnell Hill Fire moves towards Peeples Valley, Arizona.

Yarnell - Local fire officials have confirmed that at least 18 firefighters have died while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in central Arizona.

The Prescott Fire Department confirmed to MyFoxPhoenix that the firefighters,all part of a group called the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, had passed away Sunday evening.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has notified residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell to evacuate.

Roxie Glover, spokeswoman at Wickenburg Community Hospital, told The Associated Press that the hospital has been told to expect residents with injuries and firefighters.

Earlier Sunday, the fast-moving fire prompted the evacuation of at least 50 homes in the Buckhorn, Model Creek and Double A Bar Ranch areas about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Comment: What a horrible tragedy, the single worst such incident in the U.S. since 1933:
The tragedy ranks as the greatest loss of life among firefighters from a single wildland blaze in the United States since 29 men died battling the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles, according to National Fire Protection Association records.


Fire in Arizona prompts evacuation of 50 homes

A one square-mile wildfire burning in a central Arizona community has led to the evacuation of at least 50 homes that are threatened by the blaze.

Yaenell - A fast-moving wildfire burning in a central Arizona community has led the evacuation of at least 50 homes that are threatened by the blaze, and by Sunday afternoon, authorities had asked even more residents to leave.

The wildfire also forced the closure of about 15 miles of state Route 89, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced. The department did not have an estimate of how long the closure would last but advised drivers to use U.S. 93 or Interstate 17 as alternate routes.

Fire information officer Mike Reichling said earlier Sunday that no homes had been lost in the fire northwest of the Yavapai County community of Yarnell.

Early estimates put the number of evacuated homes at 120, but the number was downgraded by officials closer to the fire.

Reichling says the blaze was within a mile of some homes but was burning away from them.

The Yarnell Hill Fire prompted evacuations in the Model Creek, Buckhorn and Double A Bar Ranch areas about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix. The blaze also was within 200 yards of the Model Creek School.

Crews cleared brush and did other work around the evacuated homes to help guard against the fire.

Bizarro Earth

Singapore haze at worst yet, Malaysia schools shut

© The Associated Press/Mark Baker
A woman checks her mobile phone as she walks past Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, June 20, 2013.
Singapore urged people to remain indoors amid unprecedented levels of air pollution Thursday as a smoky haze wrought by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia worsened dramatically. Nearby Malaysia closed 200 schools and banned open burning in some areas.

The Pollutant Standards Index, Singapore's main measure for air pollution, surged to a record reading of 371, breaching the "hazardous" classification that can aggravate respiratory ailments. The previous all-time high before this week was in 1997, when the index reached 226.

The hazardous reading lasted three hours before easing to 253 in the evening, still "very unhealthy."

Smog fueled by raging Indonesian blazes has hit Singapore and Malaysia many times, often in the middle of the year, but the severity of this week's conditions has strained diplomatic ties. Officials in Singapore say Jakarta must do more to halt fires on Sumatra island started by plantation owners and farmers to clear land cheaply.

"This is now the worst haze that Singapore has ever faced," Singapore's Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan wrote on his Facebook page. "No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans' health and wellbeing."

The haze has shrouded the city-state's skyscrapers in a pall of noxious fumes and posed numerous inconveniences for Singaporeans, some of whom complained of coughs and covered their faces with handkerchiefs while walking outdoors.


Toll of homes destroyed in Colorado wildfire rises to hundreds; 2 bodies found

destroyed home and vehicles
© Rick Wilking/Reuters
An aerial view of a destroyed home and vehicles in the aftermath of a wildfire in Black Forest, Colo. on Thursday.
Colorado Springs - Hundreds of firefighters battled lashing winds on Thursday as they raced to halt the spread of a ferocious wildfire that state officials said has destroyed more homes than any other in Colorado's history.

As thousands of residents were forced to evacuate under the smoked-stained skies, officials delivered a litany of grim news about the fire, which erupted Tuesday afternoon in the wooded community of Black Forest, north of Colorado Springs.

Officials reported that two bodies had been found in a garage, where they had apparently been packing up a car to flee the area. They said that 360 homes had been reduced to ash and cinder. About 38,000 people fled their homes in subdivisions and shaded hillsides. Plumes of smoke billowed from Black Forest, and officials said the fire was about 5 percent contained.

No cause for the fire has been determined.

As hundreds of firefighters raced to save homes and keep the 15,700-acre fire from leaping over highways, tanker planes and helicopters chirred through the sky like dragonflies, dropping water and retardant. But the weather thwarted fire crews at every turn. Afternoon thunderstorms brought lightning but little rain. Lashing winds lofted flames into the Ponderosa pines and steered the blaze in unpredictable directions.

"All we can do is fight," Gov. John W. Hickenlooper said after visiting residents who had taken shelter in a high school.

Comment: Comment: Reign of Fire: Meteorites, Wildfires, Planetary Chaos and the Sixth Extinction