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Category Archives: Forest Fires

Forest Fires

Russia to investigate if arson caused huge Siberian bushfires, as smoke reaches Alaska, Canada

ABC News, Australia
August 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, International

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered police to investigate if bushfires currently burning across more than 3 million hectares in Siberia were started deliberately to conceal illegal logging activity. Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case over the fires and was investigating officials in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk for suspected negligence in not taking action to stop them. The bushfires cover 3.1 million hectares of mostly remote, uninhabited forest, the Federal Forestry Agency said on Thursday. …NASA said in a statement on Wednesday its satellite imagery showed the smoke from the fires, which collectively cover an area the size of Belgium, had wafted across Russia’s Siberia and Far East all the way to Alaska and down the west coast of Canada.

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Forest fire 1.5 km from Sara Lake listed as out of control

North Island Gazette
August 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wildfire was reported on Sunday in the North Island area. According to Coastal Fire Centre’s Information Officer Dorothy Jacobson, the wildfire is “approximately 1.5 km east of Sara Lake, and it was discovered yesterday sometime in the afternoon.” She noted the fire’s cause is unknown and is currently under investigation, and it is approximately 0.65 hectares in size. “We had two initial attack crews, a helicopter, two officers, a water tender and a feller buncher there yesterday and a third initial attack crew was sent up today,” she said, adding that while the fire is classified as out of control, they expect it to be under control imminently.

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More crews sent to B.C.’s southern Okanagan wildfire as weather shift possible

The Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
August 8, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — A stubborn wildfire in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan has now charred an estimated 12.5-square kilometres of trees and bush near the community of Oliver and fire crews are working against time as bad weather looms. BC Wildfire Service information officer Nicole Bonnett says additional crews are arriving, in part to respond to “potential forecasted weather events,” and also to help carry out other firefighting duties. The added staff bolsters a crew of 100 that has been working around the clock on the blaze which broke out Sunday. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen expanded its evacuation alert Wednesday night, adding another 41 properties to the 206 placed on alert one day after the fire was spotted.

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There’s A Massive BC Forest Fire Threatening 200 Inmates At Oliver Prison

By Sarah Anderson
Narcity
August 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forest fires are scary enough, but imagine a forest fire coming right at you when you’re in prison. Right now the Eagle Bluffs B.C. forest fire is threatening over 200 inmates who live at the Okanagan Correctional Centre. An evacuation alert is in effect in Oliver, B.C., where the fire is burning just north of the town.  The Osoyoos Indian Band expanded their original evacuation alert on Tuesday to include the Senkulmen Business Park area, which is where the Okanagan Correctional Centre is located.  B.C. Corrections Communications Director Caroline McAndrews told Narcity on Wednesday that “the risk to evacuate is being monitored closely” and they have plans in place that would support any evacuations needed in response to risks like fires and floods.

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Wildfire in Okanagan Valley nearly triples in size to 6 sq. km, expected to keep growing

By Clare Hennig
CBC News
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wildfire in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley that has residents under an evacuation alert and dealing with air quality warnings is showing no signs of letting up. The Eagle Bluff wildfire, located between Okanagan Falls and Oliver, has grown to an estimated six square kilometres as of Tuesday night, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. That’s nearly triple the size compared to Monday afternoon, when it was estimated at 2.25 square kilometres. “It’s burning in some pretty steep slopes and rocky terrain, so that’s definitely a bit of a challenge [to access],” said Nicole Bonnett, fire information officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre. “The heat is also a big factor.” …More than 200 properties are on evacuation alert and Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement aimed at areas including Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos.

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New wildfire burning northwest of Sechelt

CTV News
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service has confirmed crews are battling a wildfire roughly 45 kilometres northwest of Sechelt, on the Sunshine Coast. The fire broke out in the late afternoon Monday in a wooded area south of Sakinaw Lake. It nearly doubled in size overnight to 3.8 hectares. “The helicopters’ [are] still very active, picking up water from the lake since the early morning,” wrote resident Tom Hassan in an email. Hassan noted it was relatively windy near the lake, with “hazy smoke” pluming from the blaze. Sixteen personnel, two water tenders and two more helicopters are currently on-site, while a 20-person unit crew is on its way, the wildfire service tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

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New wildfire between Oliver and Okanagan Falls, B.C., prompts evacuation alert

By Cathy Kearney
CBC News
August 5, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fire crews have been dispatched to a new wildfire located halfway between Oliver, B.C., and Okanagan Falls. The B.C. Wildfire Service says about 100 personnel, eight helicopters and two water tenders have been assigned to the Eagle Bluff fire. As of Monday afternoon, the fire had grown to 225 hectares. The new wildfire sparked an evacuation alert for the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen for electoral area C, and for the Osoyoos Indian Band. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said several properties are impacted by the alert and additional properties may be affected. “We do have a structure protection specialist on scene and he is assessing residents in the alert area,” said Taylor MacDonald, a fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service.

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Richter Mountain wildfire in Similkameen now held

By Kristi Patton
BC Local News
July 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Richter Mountain wildfire is now considered held. More than 100 BC Wildfire crews remain on scene focusing on ground suppression efforts with less emphasis on air support. Crews are working in steep terrain with loose rock and site safety is a priority. An evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre (RDOS EOC) on July 26 for 10 properties in Electoral Area “B” is rescinded. The properties are located in Cawston, west of Osoyoos in Electoral Area “B.” The Richter Mountain wildfire, 14 kilometres south of Cawston, is now estimated to be 403 hectares in size. According to BC Wildfire, the fire is showing a low level of activity and is primarily a smouldering ground fire that is not producing a lot of smoke. …Crews will continue to work 24 hours a day on the fire.

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Arctic wildfires breaking records, in numbers and emissions

By Kate Kyle
CBC News
July 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Scientists are keeping their eyes on more than 100 fires burning in the Arctic, saying 2019 appears to be an unprecedented year for their numbers and emissions. It’s not unusual to see fires in Arctic regions, especially in sections with boreal forest. Their numbers and size fluctuate from year to year. But this year is notable, said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts. “For sure, the emissions we can estimate, and the number of fires we can see, are much higher,” for June, he said when looking back at 16 years worth of data. Parrington said this year, between 250 and 300 fire detections, or “hot spots,” have been recorded north of the Arctic Circle each day.

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Massive wildfire season has Alberta seeking review of prevention, response strategies

By Jordan Omstead
CBC News
July 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfires in Alberta have burned more land in 2019 than any year in the past four decades, according to data from Alberta Wildfire. … A request for proposal, posted to the Alberta government’s tendering website on Thursday, states “The 2019 spring wildfires in Alberta had a severe impact on people, communities, forest industry, and forest habitat.” The posting states that the government wants to review its wildfire preparation and response. As well, it wants an external consultant to evaluate part of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry’s wildfire management program. …”The intent of this review is to hear from stakeholders to identify actions we did well and things we could improve on. The review will look at our Ministry’s preparedness and response to this spring’s fire season. It will also look at the wildfire program itself, including what we’ve learned from past reviews carried out in 2015 and 2016.”

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‘It was just a wall of fire’: Neighbours fight off Cawston area blaze overnight

By Brady Strachan
CBC News
July 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A group of about 15 people living south of Cawston, B.C., banded together to fight off the Richter Mountain fire Thursday night and early Friday morning, as gusting winds fanned flames down the mountainside toward their properties. The wildfire, burning approximately 15 kilometres south of Cawston along Highway 3, has grown to 150 hectares, up from 80 hectares earlier in the day, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. On Friday, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued an evacuation alert for 10 properties adjacent to the highway and on Chopaka Road. “The fire was so strong and it was so windy,” said Melissa Genberg, who fought the blaze into the early morning hours of Friday along with her neighbours. “It was just a wall of fire.”

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‘It’s taken a lot of hard work’: Chuckegg wildfire finally being held as residents learn to live with its aftermath

Edmonton Journal
July 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Chuckegg Creek wildfire that forced thousands of people from their northern Alberta homes has officially been classified as “‘being held” after burning out of control for months. “It’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of different people — everyone from our firefighters on the ground to the extreme hard work of pilots’ countless hours of bucketing on hot spots to contractors to heavy equipment operators to everyone that makes the whole wheel turn,” said Victoria Ostendorf, wildfire information officer for the High Level area. The change in status means the fire is not expected to grow outside of its expected boundaries under current weather conditions. Ostendorf said firefighters will now work inwards on the fire to extinguish hot spots.

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Manitoba First Nation faces evacuation as forest fire threatens

By Ian Froese
CBC News
July 24, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A First Nation in northern Manitoba is being evacuated after a forest fire threatened the community on Wednesday.  The Canadian Red Cross said it will relocate upwards of 150 residents of Marcel Colomb First Nation, which is 800 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, to Thompson Wednesday evening. Government officials have not confirmed details about the forest fire, but Lynn Lake fire chief James Lindsay said the blaze destroyed at least one building. Lindsay said a building at Lynn Lake Kiddie Camp, on the east shore of Burge Lake Provincial Park, was consumed by one of several wildfires ignited in the afternoon.

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Ontario’s forests are heating up

By Elaine Della-Mattia
The Sault Star
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Forest fire conditions in the central and southern portion of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Northeast fire region remain high to extreme. Two new wildfires were discovered late Monday, the MNRF reports. …Pembroke 3 is about 40 kilometres northwest of Barry’s Bay, southeast of Algonquin Park. Five other active fires are also on the MNRF’s radar across the region, with two listed under control, two classified as being held and the final one under observation. …The Northwest region of the province is seeing much more forest fire activity. …There are currently 37 active fires in the region. They include three which are classified as not under control, three are being held, nine under control and 22 under observation.

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Larger fire sizes affected more areas this forest fire season in northwestern Ontario

CBC News
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

There have been far fewer forest fires in northwestern Ontario this year, according to the ministry’s fire information officer, but the amount of area that’s been burned has been much more than last year. Two large fires in the area, Red Lake 23 and 39 contributed to the massive burn as all those fires prompted the evacuation of residents in First Nation communities nearby. “Red 23 near Keewaywin, that fire grew to over 96000 hectares fairly quickly. Also Red 39 at Pikangikum was also a very large fire that counts for a lot of that area affected by fire,” Chris Marchand told CBC News. He said this year, over 300 fires have burned compared to the total of 984 last year throughout the April to October forest fire season.

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Trump offers Putin help with Siberian wildfires: Kremlin

Reuters in CNBC
August 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

U.S. President Donald Trump offered his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin help in putting out vast wildfires that are raging in Siberia, the Kremlin said late on Wednesday, a move it said Putin took as a sign that battered ties can be restored. The Kremlin said the two leaders had spoken by phone at Washington’s initiative, hours after Putin ordered the Russian army to help firefighters battle the wildfires. The fires have spread to around 3 million hectares of mostly remote forest… wafting smoke across Siberia and prompting several regions to declare states of emergency. “The U.S. president offered Russia cooperation in fighting forest fires in Siberia,” the Kremlin statement said. “President Putin expressed his sincere gratitude for such an attentive attitude and for the offer of help and support.” …The White House confirmed the two men had spoken by phone and said they had discussed the wildfires as well as trade between their two nations.

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Alaska wildfire season continues with new fires, hot weather

By Dan Joling
Associated Press in Helena Independent Record
August 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s wildfire season usually ends well before mid-August but persistent hot, dry weather has contributed to the start of new fires and the spread of old ones. High winds Saturday damaged power lines or knocked trees into lines, sparking multiple fires, including one that temporarily shut down the highway between Anchorage and Denali National Park and burned more than 50 structures, said Tim Mowry, spokesman for the Alaska Division of Forestry. Heavy rain has dampened fires north of the Alaska Range but has not reached areas north and south of Anchorage. …July was the warmest month ever recorded in Alaska. On Saturday, a weather system with winds gusting to 40 mph moved into southcentral Alaska. The fire along the Parks Highway began with a tree falling on a power line. …Alaska fire officials have recorded 659 wildfires this year that have burned more than 3,901 square miles (10,104 sq. kilometers).

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Idaho hot springs area near McCall evacuated due to wildfire

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
August 8, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, IDAHO — A wildfire burning in dense timber has nearly tripled in size and led to evacuations of a small community and a popular rustic resort hot springs, Idaho fire officials said Thursday. The fire near Burgdorf Hot Springs grew to 1.5 square miles and jumped across roads leading into an area that are now closed to the public. …The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued a full evacuation for the lightly populated area about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the vacation area of McCall. About 350 personnel are assigned to the blaze that’s burning mostly in the Payette National Forest. Several U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in the area have been closed.

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Growing wildfire on Colville Indian Reservation leads to evacuations, air-quality alerts

By Asia Fields and Christine Clarridge
The Seattle Times
August 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A spreading wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation led to evacuations Wednesday and air quality in the region that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked among the worst in the nation. The Williams Flats fire had burned more than 25,000 acres and was 25% contained Wednesday afternoon. The fire grew significantly to the east and northeast over the day, leading officials to order residents of about 13 homes to immediately evacuate about 6 p.m. Residents of about 11 additional homes were told to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Fire officials won’t have an update on the size of the fire until Thursday morning, but it’s expected to grow as far east as the Columbia River on Wednesday night, said fire spokeswoman Shannon Dunfee.

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Smokejumper recounted Mann Gulch recovery effort in photos

By Thom Bridge
Helena Independent Record
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

On Aug. 6, 1949, the U.S. Forest Service sent a recovery mission to the site of the Mann Gulch fire after tragedy struck the smokejumpers the day before. On that recovery crew was smokejumper Richard “Dick” Wilson, who carried a small film camera in the collar of his jumpsuit and captured some of the only photos of the aftermath.  In a 2017 interview published on Youtube, Wilson recounts that day and the mission to rescue those who fell victim to the Mann Gulch fire. The rescue crew hiked in 150 pounds of first aid supplies, but upon arrival realized medical aid was useless because the smokejumpers were already deceased. They did find use for the sleeping bags they brought.

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Gained ground, more smoke at Milepost 97

By Ryan Pfeil and Nick Morgan
Mail Tribune
July 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Crews battling the Milepost 97 fire in Douglas County are making headway against the blaze, but gaining the upper hand will add more smoke to the Rogue Valley’s forecasts. As fire crews began an offensive attack on the blaze burning near Canyonville Wednesday afternoon with a burnout operation, local meteorologists and public health officials warn of continued smoke in the Rogue Valley for at least the remainder of the week. The National Weather Service office in Medford says the greatest smoke impacts — consisting of diminished air quality and visibility — will be along the Interstate 5 corridor between Canyonville to Grants Pass, with other areas impacted including the Rogue Valley from Grants Pass to Ashland and the Applegate and Illinois valleys into northern California. For the remainder of the week, officials recommend keeping windows closed, keeping inside air as clean as possible and avoiding vigorous outdoor activities.

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Crews pounce on Applegate wildfire

By Ryan Pfeil and Nick Morgan
Mail Tribune
July 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wildfire that flared up in the Applegate Valley near Williams Tuesday evening grew to more than five dozen acres as of Wednesday afternoon. The Panther Gulch Fire is estimated at 70 acres and 15% contained, according to ODF Southwest Oregon reports, which add that crews have managed to get a line around the entire fire. The wildfire was first reported just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, when a large plume of smoke was spotted just above Panther Gulch Road, according to ODF spokeswoman Natalie Weber. Crews from ODF, Applegate Valley Fire District and Williams Fire Rescue were called out to the scene, sending four helicopters, five single-engine air tankers, two large air tankers and an attack plane to battle the fire until sunset.

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Tucker fire grows to 14,000 acres, becoming largest blaze in California this year

By Alexa Diaz
Los Angeles Times
July 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Tucker fire in Modoc County has burned more than 14,000 acres with 10% reported containment, making it the largest wildfire in California so far this year, officials said Tuesday. Officials with Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service said the fire started in rural northeastern California on Sunday afternoon off California Highway 139 and Tucker Butte Road, about six miles southwest of Clear Lake Reservoir. The fire, which is believed to have been caused unintentionally by humans, grew 10,000 acres in one day. The latest reported acreage of the blaze is 14,419 , making it the biggest active fire burning in the state and the largest in California so far in 2019. No homes are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered as of Tuesday afternoon, but affected residents in the County Road 114/202, Coyote Butte, Horse Mountain area have been issued a warning that they will be contacted if an evacuation is necessary.

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Montana, Oregon wildfires prompt evacuations, smoke warnings

By Amy Beth Hanson and Sarah Zimmerman
Associated Press in The Longview Daily News
July 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

HELENA, Mont. — Hundreds of Montana residents who fled their homes because of a four-day wildfire were allowed back Tuesday to gather important belongings, as Oregon authorities warned of unhealthy air because of another blaze that sent smoke wafting over a key highway and drifting more than 50 miles to the state’s border with California. In Montana, fire officials expressed frustration that about half of the people told to leave 400 homes and two state campgrounds threatened by the fire did not heed the evacuation warning issued over the weekend. “We need to try to figure out the mindset of people,” said Mike DeGrosky, chief of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Fire Protection Bureau. “It wasn’t like they were soft-selling the issue, and we still didn’t get a good response.” …Law enforcement officers escorted people to their homes so they could retrieve essential items, like medication.

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‘Complicated’ Milepost 97 Fire Draws Hundreds To Community Meeting

By Emily Cureton
Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

What began as an illegal campfire exploded across Douglas County, Oregon, late last week, burning 11,000 acres in its first four days. People in the Oregon communities of Glendale and Azalea were preparing to evacuate Sunday night. …more than 500 people crowded into the Glendale High School gym Sunday — a huge turnout for a town with a population of 887. They came to listen to fire managers and ask how bad things might get. As of 10 p.m. Sunday, the Milepost 97 Fire threatened 586 structures and critical infrastructure. …“We have a major highway artery, Interstate 5, power lines that serve Medford and Grants Pass, and we have a natural gas pipeline through the heart of this fire. To the north are the communications that serve Douglas County’s southern end, the sheriff and the 911 system … [and] a water intake supply for the City of Canyonville,” explained Douglas Forest Protective Association District Manager Patrick Skrip. 

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Wildfire jumps in size overnight

By Damian Mann
The Mail Tribune
July 28, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Smoke from the wildfire raging 70 miles north in Canyonville continued to pour into the Rogue Valley over the weekend, with no letup in sight. The Milepost 97 fire continued its march southward, growing from 8,878 to 11,009 acres from Saturday to Sunday and threatening 586 structures. “This is one of the most difficult fires we’ve dealt with,” said Joe Touchstone, a public information officer with the Oregon Department of Forestry, which took control of fire operations on Friday. Last night, sparks from a burning tree that fell down ignited spot fires across the freeway, with firefighters rushing to mop them up. Despite the terrain, strong winds and the reduced visibility, ODF has the fire 5 percent contained.

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Grounded air tanker returns to fire battle

By Vickie Aldous
Mail Tribune
July 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Medford Airtanker Base’s large air tanker was grounded this morning due to low-lying smoke from the Milepost 97 fire near Canyonville. The Erickson DC-7 air tanker was able to lift off this afternoon to aid firefighters on the ground. The DC-7 can drop 3,000-gallon loads of fire retardant or water. The plane flew five missions from about 9:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Early on, the smoke column from the fire was billowing into the sky, said Tyler Hoffer, Oregon Department of Forestry assistant tanker manager to the DC-7. “It started out relatively clear because the column was standing up. And then it started degrading over time. Smoke started laying down over the fire,” Hoffer said. The DC-7 was joined by two smaller air tankers that can each carry 650-750 gallons of retardant or water at a time. .

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Arizona city watches, worries as mountain area burns

By Felicia Fonesca
The Associated Press in the Times and Democrat
July 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Anxious residents packed up prized possessions Tuesday as hundreds of firefighters worked to keep a wildfire in a forested Arizona city away from homes and hoped the weather might bring some relief. About two dozen homes have been evacuated in Flagstaff, a popular mountain getaway in the largest Ponderosa pine forest in the U.S. Residents of another 5,000 homes have been told to be prepared to flee the fire in Coconino National Forest. …Another wildfire was burning near a nuclear energy research site in Idaho, prompting the evacuation of non-essential employees mainly because of wind changes and smoke. …In Arizona, firefighters were expecting much-needed rain along with erratic winds at times that could shift the direction of the fire.

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Amazon rainforest is ablaze, turning day into night in Sao Paulo

By Andrew Freedman, Washington Post
The Oregonian
August 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Huge tracts of the Amazon…are ablaze. Smoke from the widespread fires has turned day into night in Sao Paulo, and intensified a controversy over the Brazilian government’s land use policies. The Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January… The Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, known by the acronym INPE. That’s an 85 percent increase from last year…”There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” INPE researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters. Speaking of the fires, he said, “The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.” …INPE tracks deforestation in Brazil, and its data has shown a huge increase in the Amazon this year. 

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A record number of wildfires are burning in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest

CBC News
August 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research centre, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy. The surge marks an 83 per cent increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on Tuesday, and is the highest since records began in 2013. …The unprecedented surge in wildfires has occurred since Bolsonaro took office in January vowing to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, ignoring international concern over increased deforestation. Brazilian President said on a Facebook Live session that non-governmental organizations could be burning down the Amazon rainforest to bring shame on his government after he cut their funding.

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9,000 forced to evacuate as fire in Spain’s Canary Islands burns out of control

Associated Press in Global News
August 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

An out-of-control wildfire in Spain’s Canary Islands was throwing flames 50 metres (160 feet) into the air on Monday, forcing emergency workers to evacuate more than 9,000 people, authorities said. The blaze — described by the local fire department as “a monster” — was racing across parched woodlands into Tamadaba Natural Park, regarded as one of the jewels on Gran Canaria, a mountainous volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago off northwest Africa. …Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres said 1,100 firefighters were being deployed in shifts along with 16 water-dropping aircraft to battle the blaze that started Saturday afternoon. The local government said around 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres) had been charred in just 48 hours, villages were evacuated and two dozen roads were closed.

 

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Strong winds fan wildfire raging in southern France

The Local France
August 15, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

More than 500 firefighters have been called out to battle a blaze that has already destroyed hundreds of hectares of pine forest in southern France. Some 900 hectares have been destroyed since the fire broke out on Wednesday afternoon in the rugged hills of the Aude department, about 100 kilometres southeast of Toulouse. Commander Philippe Fabre of the Aude fire service told AFP there had been a “slight letup” early on Thursday, with firefighters able to halt the fire’s advance. But he said winds were expected to gust at up to 60 km/h later in the day, and efforts would be focused on “extinguishing the fiercest hotspots and preventing flare-ups in hard-to-reach areas”.

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Water-dropping planes, helicopters help battle wildfire on Greek island of Evia

Associated Press in the Globe and Mail
August 13, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Greek firefighters backed by water-dropping planes and helicopters were battling a wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the island of Evia for a second day Wednesday, where hundreds of people had been evacuated from four villages and a monastery. The six planes and five helicopters were concentrating on areas where access to the island’s dense pine forest, which includes canyons, was difficult by land. More than 250 firefighters, dozens of soldiers and volunteers were battling the wildfire that broke out at 3 a.m. Tuesday. A state of emergency was declared for the area on Tuesday, when strong winds had hampered firefighting and carried smoke from Greece’s second-largest island as far as the capital, Athens, some 75 kilometres (47 miles) to the south.

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Wild Fires in Siberia Is Choking Up Russia by Smoke

By Michael Adcock
The Ankeny Daily
August 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Large fires are a yearly ubiquity in Siberia. However, this summer, the smoke has enveloped a few of its largest cities, including Krasnoyarsk, and locals are offended at what they perceive as government inaction. Though authorities have now elevated efforts to place out the blazes, the burning area is continuing to expand. On Tuesday, Russia’s Aerial Forest Protection Service stated it’s battling 161 fires on 140,000 hectares of the forest. It has yielded on 295 fires over 2.4 million hectares of “remote or hard-to-reach territories” and merely is monitoring them from space, the service mentioned.

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Russia says Siberian wildfires started on purpose by illegal loggers

By Tom Balmforth
Reuters
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MOSCOW – Russian prosecutors said on Tuesday that some of the vast Siberian wildfires that environmentalists have dubbed a climate emergency were started on purpose by arsonists trying to conceal illegal logging activity. President Vladimir Putin called in the army last week to help firefighters battle fires raging in remote Siberian forestland that had spread to an area larger than Belgium and blanketed hundreds of villages and towns in smoke. The Emergencies Ministry said on Monday that the fires, which have prompted states of emergency to be declared in some regions, had been reduced by a quarter, while the Federal Forestry Agency put the affected area at 2.5 million hectares. …The General Prosecutor said it had identified cases in which forest fires in the Irkutsk region of Siberia had been deliberately started in order to conceal illegal wood felling, RIA news agency reported.

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Siberia wildfires: Russians battle to contain the blazes

By Steve Rosenberg
BBC News
August 4, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

…Forest fires in Siberia are common. But this summer unusually hot weather, dry thunderstorms and strong winds have combined to spark an emergency – in Siberia wildfires have engulfed an area the size of Belgium. Reaching the blazes can be difficult. Most of the fires are in remote areas. In recent days, army planes and helicopters from the Russian emergency service have been dropping water on the flames. But often it’s up to local communities to do what they can to contain the threat. In Podymakhino I meet Gennady Esin. He runs a small farm and timber business, but by necessity he’s a firefighter, too, now. Gennady and his team agree to take me into the taiga to show me the situation there. We set off on a military-style off-road truck, bumping along a dirt track. Soon we’re deep in the forest, surrounded by silver birch, cedar and pine trees.

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Indonesia steps up response to massive forest fires

By Niniek Karmini
The Associated Press in the San Francisco Chronicle
August 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Forest fires burning throughout Indonesia have prompted six provinces to declare a state of emergency and deploy thousands of security forces, a disaster official said Thursday Firefighting measures included aerial water drops in anticipation of worsening forest fires that each year spread health-damaging haze across much of Southeast Asia, said Agus Wibowo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman. …Authorities have deployed nearly 6,000 personnel to douse the fires that have razed more than 30,000 hectares of forest and land.

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Russian Forest Fires Burn Out of Control

The Associated Press in the Courthouse News
August 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MOSCOW — Russia has sent army soldiers to help fight forest fires that have burned nearly 12,000 square miles in Siberia and the Far East — an area the size of Belgium. Russian officials said Thursday that the fires have spread to remote areas of Siberia that firefighters cannot reach. Avialesookhrana, Russia’s aerial forest protection service, said Thursday more than 30,000 square kilometers are on fire, with the vast majority in areas that are hard to reach and where potential damage is likely to be less than the cost of fighting them. Although the fires have not hit populated areas, heavy smoke from them is affecting about 800 communities, officials said, including the large cities of Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita.

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Russian military called in to fight Siberian forest fires

By Jim Heintz
Associated Press in The Times and Democrat
July 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MOSCOW — The Russian military on Wednesday joined efforts to fight forest fires that have engulfed nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,580 sq. miles) of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East — an area the size of Belgium. The move, which includes sending military transport planes and helicopters that can drop water on fires, came after an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian authorities have declared a state of emergency in five areas, including all of the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, which lie north of Mongolia. Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region, which stretches all the way to the Kara Sea and the Arctic Ocean, can be seen blanketed in smoke by satellite photos from NASA and Europe’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. …Late Wednesday, the White House issued a statement saying President Donald Trump had spoken with Putin earlier in the day and “expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia.”

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AP Explains: Deadly mega-fires bring new challenge to Europe

By Barry Hatton
Associated Press in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

LISBON, Portugal — The European Union describes wildfires as “a serious and increasing threat” across the continent. Most alarmingly, forest blazes are growing in intensity, especially in southern countries such as Greece, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal but also in Scandinavia. Experts warn the continent needs to get ready for blazes that reach a massive new scale. These superfires, or mega-fires, are catastrophic events that kill and blacken broad areas and are hard to stop. Here’s a look at Europe’s wildfire problem. …In Western Europe, people have been leaving the land and moving to the cities. Abandoned fields, pastures and forests have been left to themselves, becoming overgrown with what turns into fuel for wildfires. …Conifer forests and eucalyptus plantations, which provide income for landowners, are common and burn fiercely. The spread of urban areas, meanwhile, has brought homes close to forests, and danger lies in the proximity.
 

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