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Category Archives: Forest Fires

Forestry

The Amazon in Brazil is on fire – how bad is it?

By The Visual Data Team
BBC News
August 23, 2019
Category: Forestry, Forest Fires
Region: International

Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – the most intense blazes for almost a decade. …So what’s actually happening and how bad are the fires? Brazil has seen a record number of fires in 2019, Brazilian space agency data suggests. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) says its satellite data shows an 85% increase on the same period in 2018. Forest fires … can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as by lightning strikes, but also by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing. …Most of the worst-affected regions are in the north of the country. …The Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Ipam) has stated the recent increase in the number of fires in the Amazon is directly related to deliberate deforestation. …Deforestation was 278% higher in July 2019 than in July 2018, according to Inpe. …But according to the data, emissions in Brazil were higher in the mid-2000s, as the chart below indicates.

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Forest Fires

Logging truck starts forest fire north of Nakusp

By John Boivin
Arrow Lakes News
August 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada West

People travelling along Highway 23 north of Nakusp can expect some delays today as fire crews work a blaze started on Thursday. Highway 23 north of Nakusp was closed briefly yesterday after a logging truck caught on fire, spreading flames to the nearby forest. Local fire crews and the BC Wildfire Service responded to the fire about 22 kilometers north of Nakusp, just south of the Halfway River. “The fire was the result of a logging truck fire near Highway 23 which spread into the adjacent forest,” said a news release from BC Wildfire. “[C]rews and aviation resources responded along with the local fire department.” The fire is about one hectare in size, and is displaying minimal fire behaviour, said a spokesperson for the Southeast Fire Centre. Twenty BC Wildfire Service personnel were on site Friday to continue suppression activities.

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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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Wildfires are changing – New satellite will help monitor wildfires from space

Wawa News
September 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Currently, in Canada, wildfires are managed using an approach known as ‘initial attack’, in which fires are detected early and fought quickly and aggressively with the objective of full suppression. Though ‘initial attack’ is effective, firefighting crews can easily be overwhelmed if there is a large number of new fires. If crews cannot keep up, some of the fires escape and become large, dangerous and costly very quickly. Mix in some of the effects of climate change, like shorter winters, hotter summers and less precipitation, and the fire activity across the country is rapidly increasing. …Together with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is developing a new strategy aimed at reducing the impact of wildfires on the Canadian economy and improve the well-being of Canadians across the country through increased safety and security.

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Crews battle Jordan Bay forest fire in challenging conditions

CBC News
August 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Crews battled an estimated 15-hectare forest fire in Jordan Bay, N.S., under challenging conditions on Monday. “The fire started in what looks like a … kind of a dried bog,” said Scott Tingley, the acting manager of forest protection for the Department of Lands and Forestry.  “The fire’s burning very deep and it’s challenging terrain for the crews to walk over,” he said. “It’s kind of slow going on the ground for crews.”  Two department helicopters are dropping water and bringing in equipment, he said. Twelve members from the department are stationed in the area along with two firefighters from the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department. 

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A total of 17 forest fires are burning across the northeast

Sudbury.com
August 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

A total of 17 fires are burning across the northeast, according to Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services. There were five new wildland fires still active by late afternoon on August 25, and six fires are not under control at the time of this update.  The remaining 11 fires are either being held or under control. Pembroke 5 is currently 0.2 of a hectare. The fire is located northeast of Bissett Creek Provincial Park. Wawa 12 is listed at 0.1 of a hectare and is located north of Nimoosh Provincial Park.  North Bay 24 is under control at 0.1 of a hectare. This fire is located south of Lake Temagami.  Algonquin Park 21 is listed at 0.3 of a hectare and is located southwest of Dickson Lake. 

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‘Out of control’ forest fire burning near Miramichi

CBC News
August 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

An “out of control” forest fire is raging about 12 kilometres west of Miramichi. Matthew Ruff, a co-ordinator with the provincial forest fire management branch, said the fire was detected around 9 p.m. Thursday. It is believed to have started in an area where branches and other debris were left over from a forestry operation. The size of the blaze is about 25 hectares. Crews are water bombing the fire from the air, and 16 firefighters are fighting from the ground.  Ruff said windy conditions have made it harder to control the flames. …No buildings or infrastructure are in danger. 

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51 homes, 3 businesses lost in Alaska wildfire

By Mark Thiessen
Associated Press in the Washington Post
August 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A wildfire burning north of Anchorage, Alaska, has destroyed 51 homes and three businesses, officials said Friday. Another 84 buildings between the communities of Willow and Talkeetna, about 70 miles north of the state’s largest city, also have been destroyed, fire information manager Kale Casey said. Hundreds of people have been evacuated because of the fire that started Sunday night along the Parks Highway, the main thoroughfare that connects Anchorage to Denali National Park and Preserve and Fairbanks. Gov. Michael Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration for the Matanuska Susitna Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough for impacts from fires. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but officials have said it was human-caused.

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Deadly Los Angeles wildfire burns with subdued fury after change in weather

By Steve Gorman
Reuters
October 13, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES – Firefighters have tightened their grip on a deadly Los Angeles wildfire burning with subdued fury on Sunday after extremely dry desert winds that had stoked the flames gave way to moister, gentler breezes blowing in from the Pacific. The so-called Saddleridge fire, which erupted Thursday night and raced across the northern edge of L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, had scorched nearly 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares) by Sunday but was mostly confined to foothills and canyons away from populated areas, fire officials said. As of Sunday morning, firefighters had managed to carve containment lines around 41% of the fire’s perimeter, more than double the containment level reported a day earlier as authorities lifted all remaining evacuation notices. At the height of the blaze on Friday, authorities had ordered the evacuation of some 23,000 homes, comprising about 100,000 people, as flames invaded several communities in northern Los Angeles.

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Colorado wildfire declared top US wildfire priority

By Liz Henderson
Out There Colorado
October 8, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The 6,100-acre Decker fire on Salida’s doorstep has been declared the nation’s top priority wildfire, putting it first in line for firefighting crews and aircraft. The wildfire, which started from a lightning strike Sept. 8, grew another 230 acres by Sunday morning and remains only 5% contained, according to a Rocky Mountain Incident Command news release. The fire is burning in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness and has come within two miles of Salida, a city of about 5,200 people in Chaffee County. Along with the return of drought conditions after a wet spring and early summer, crews battled high winds Saturday. …Twenty three hand crews, 28 engines, three dozers, six helicopters, three aircraft and 10 water tenders — a total of 806 firefighters — were assigned to the fire by Sunday morning, according to wildfiretoday.com.

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Spark from machinery caused Museum Fire north of Flagstaff, Forest Service says

By Laurel Morales
Cronkite News
September 13, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

FLAGSTAFF – Fire investigators say the Museum Fire, which burned 1,961 acres near Flagstaff in July, started from a forest-thinning project meant to prevent wildfires. An excavator striking rock sparked the blaze, which forced neighborhoods to evacuate and cost $9 million to control, the U.S. Forest Service reports. In a news release, Laura Jo West, supervisor of the Coconino National Forest, said it was unfortunate the fire was caused by thinning operations, but things could have been worse. The thinning is part of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, which is a partnership between the state, Flagstaff and Coconino National Forest to reduce the risk of severe wildfire and post-fire flooding in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary watersheds. “Fortunately,” West said, “some of the restoration work that had been completed previously in and around the wildfire area actually helped stop the fire from becoming larger and more destructive.”

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California’s biggest wildfire of 2019 approaches 50,000 acres as dry conditions return

By Michael McGough
The Sacramento Bee
September 12, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Walker Fire burning in Plumas National Forest saw “increased fire behavior” overnight after mild conditions Wednesday, pushing the wildfire to nearly 50,000 acres Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Growth has still slowed significantly compared with last week, and containment of the blaze is steadily increasing as a total of nearly 2,000 fire personnel are assigned to the fire. After sparking last Sept. 4, the Walker Fire is now reported at 49,272 acres and is 28 percent contained, the Forest Service said in a Thursday morning update. Mandatory evacuation orders are still in effect for the Murdock Crossing and Stony Ridge areas, but warnings have been reduced to evacuation advisories in all other affected areas by the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office. Some roadways remain closed, but Highway 395 is fully open to traffic.

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Wind-Whipped Plumas National Forest Wildfire Chars 68 Square Miles

Associated Press in CBS SF Bay Area
September 9, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

QUINCY — A massive wildfire in a remote area of California’s gold country grew overnight to more than 68 square miles, officials said Monday. The U.S. Forest Service said containment on the blaze in the Plumas National Forest remains at 7 percent. Erratic winds were making conditions difficult for the more than 800 firefighters battling the blaze. Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for scattered rural properties in the forest, the forest service said. To the west in Tehama County, fire crews have contained 50 percent of a blaze that has destroyed two structures and burned nearly 14 square miles. The blaze started by lighting Thursday has burned through brush and timber west of Red Bluff. It led to mandatory evacuations that remain in place.

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Fire near Yellowstone’s East Entrance grows to 16 square miles

By Brett French
The Billings Gazette
September 5, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

As firefighters rushed to protect structures, the Fishhawk fire grew to about 16 square miles by Thursday morning — larger than the nearby community of Cody, Wyoming. A type 2 management team has been called in to oversee the firefighting effort, including the placement of personnel and equipment to protect the Kitty Creek cabins and the Buffalo Bill Boy Scout Camp’s 15 structures, valued at about $1 million. …”The reality is the geography is helping a lot to contain things,” Bodoh said. …Aircraft are dropping water to keep the fire from spreading north to the structures, Bodoh said, which are about four miles away from the blaze.

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Dangerous fire weather prompts red flag alert

By Mike Kordenbrock
The Billings Gazette
September 5, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A red flag warning will go into effect at noon today for dangerous fire weather conditions in south-central Montana and north-central Wyoming, according to the National Weather Service in Billings. Glasgow, Great Falls and Missoula also have red flag warnings scheduled to begin at noon for portions of those areas. 
Billings is included in a red flag warning area where high temperatures of between 95 and 100 are expected to combine with low humidity and gusting winds. The record high for Sept. 4 in Billings is 100 degrees and was set in the 1950, according to NWS Billings meteorologist Brian Tesar. “It’s nearly 20 degrees above normal,” Tesar said. 

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New fast-moving wildfire burns east of Yellowstone Park

Casper Star-Tribune
September 3, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

CODY — A new wildfire has grown rapidly east of Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming. The fire was reported Monday evening in the Washakie Wilderness about 40 miles west of Cody and south of U.S. 14/16/20. It quickly spread because of gusty winds and burned an estimated 4,000 acres of forest, with no containment reported. Safety is the top priority of fire managers, who are also focusing on protecting buildings in the area. “Appropriate actions will be taken when it is needed and where it is safe to do so with the highest probability of success,” said Mark Giacoletto, the Shoshone National Forest fire management officer. “The amount of standing dead timber and the hazardous terrain in the vicinity of the fire makes it unsafe to put firefighters near the current location of the fire.”

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Fast-moving wildfire erupts in California, forcing thousands to evacuate

The Guardian
August 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A fast-moving wildfire that broke out on Thursday in northern California has forced the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, racing across at least 600 acres within just a few hours, officials say. The Mountain fire, which erupted on the outskirts of a national forest in northern California, has threatened 1,110 homes and structures. As of Thursday evening the fire was 0% contained and officials in Shasta county described the situation as “very fluid”. …“Jones Valley and Bella Vista area residents! This situation is very fluid and rapidly changing, if you do not see your road listed but feel you are in danger YOU MAY EVACUATE to Shasta College Gymnasium,” the sheriff’s department said in a separate tweet.

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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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Ahead of wildfire season, officials urge caution

By USDA Forest Service
The Sampson Independent
October 9, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA — As we enter the start of the fall wildfire season, the N.C. Forest Service and the USDA Forest Service urge visitors and North Carolinians to be cautious with campfires and when burning yard debris. This reminder coincides with National Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 6-12. The fall wildfire season typically lasts from mid-October until mid-December, the time of year when people do a lot of yard work that may include burning leaves and yard debris. The leading cause of wildfires in North Carolina is debris burning.

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Wildfires destroy up to 30 homes in eastern Australia

By Tristan Lavalette
Associated Press in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 9, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

PERTH, Australia — About 500 firefighters were battling out-of-control wildfires in eastern Australia that have destroyed up to 30 homes. More than 40 bushfires were burning across New South Wales state. Temperatures were cooler Wednesday after strong winds and stifling heat restricted firefighting efforts Tuesday. More than 100,000 hectares (380 square miles) have burned with the small village of Rappville, population 250, among the worst affected. About 50 people sheltered in a school overnight. NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said some people had been taken to hospitals with minor burns and breathing difficulties. The number of injures wasn’t given, and the extent of the fire damage was still to be determined. “We’re just making sure we know what properties are damaged or lost, people are accounted for and making those areas as safe as we can so that people who haven’t lost their homes can return,” he said.

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Amazon fires fall sharply in September, spread elsewhere

By Diane Jeantet
The Associated Press in the Missoulian
October 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

RIO DE JANEIRO — The number of fires has declined sharply in Brazil’s Amazon region an alarming rise in July and August, but state environmental workers say the fight continues as officials still promote economic development in protected natural areas. Fires in the Amazon went down 35.5% in September compared to August, with 19,925 fires, according to data published Tuesday by the National Institute for Space Research. Official data going back to 1998 show that historically, September tends to have more fires than August. Fire is regularly used to clear land by ranchers and farmers as well as illegal loggers and miners. But in July and August, parts of the Amazon burned at a pace unseen since 2010, fueling global worries about climate change.

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The big picture of the Amazon fires

By Julianna Santos, University of Melbourne
Phys.org
September 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

…But the fires in the Amazon rainforest this year are different. Thousands of fires are continuing to ravage the rainforest in Brazil in the most intense blazes for almost a decade. The Amazon is the largest rainforest area remaining on Earth. It is home to unique wildlife and ecosystems, and plays an important role in carbon storage and global climate. But why is the Amazon is burning? What’s the relationship between these fires and the political situation in Brazil? And what are the local and global implications of these fires? …The fires in the Amazon are a result of the combination of three main factors: deforestation, farming and climate change. Research from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) shows an 88 percent increase in deforestation in June 2019 in comparison with the same period last year. …And there is hope. …There just needs to be political will, and a fair political system, behind it.

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Bolivia Is Fighting Major Forest Fires Nearly As Large As In Brazil

By John Otis
National Public Radioi
September 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

…Bolivian firefighters, army troops and volunteers have been working nonstop for the past two months amid some of the worst fires in the country’s recent history. President Evo Morales, who is running for reelection next month, has suspended his campaign to deal with the expanding disaster. On Saturday, regional officials estimated nearly 6 million acres of forest and savanna have been torched since August. Eduardo Forno, who heads the Bolivian chapter of Conservation International, says that is almost equal to the area burned this year in the Amazon rainforest in neighboring Brazil, a country eight times larger. …Cecilia Requena says Morales’ government initially downplayed the extent of the fires and the response has been late, chaotic and ineffectual. …Now, a state sponsored TV campaign is portraying Morales as Bolivia’s firefighter in chief, with spots showing a determined-looking Morales spraying water on the flames.

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Indonesia ‘doing everything’ to put out forest fires: President Widodo

Channel News Asia
September 17, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

PEKANBARU: Indonesia is battling forest fires causing toxic haze across southeast Asia with aircraft, artificial rain and even prayer, President Joko Widodo said during a visit to a hard-hit area. Forest fires are raging on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, sending a choking fug across the region – including towards neighbours Malaysia and Singapore. During a visit to Riau province in central Sumatra on Tuesday, Widodo said nearly 6,000 troops had been sent to hot spots to help put out fires. “We have made every effort,” he said. …The toxic smoke caused by deliberate burning to clear land for plantations is an annual problem for Indonesia and its neighbours, but has been worsened this year by particularly dry weather.

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Indonesia sends more people, aircraft to battle forest fires

The Associated Press in the Times and Democrat
September 17, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s president traveled to the area hardest hit by forest fires, as neighboring countries urged his government to do more to tackle the blazes that have spread a thick, noxious haze around Southeast Asia. President Joko Widodo flew to Riau province, where nearly 50,000 hectares have burned, to encourage authorities to get the haze under control. Widodo told reporters Tuesday in the provincial capital, Pekanbaru, that about 5,600 additional military personnel have been deployed to help the 9,000 people currently fighting the fires, which have razed more than 328,700 hectares (812,000 acres) of land nationwide. Forestry and Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the ministry is investigating 370 plantation companies suspected of intentionally setting fires.

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Experts: Indonesia forest fires may not be extinguished any time soon

New Straits Times Online
September 16, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

PEKANBARU, Indonesia: Thousands of Indonesian firefighters are locked in an around-the-clock game of Whack-a-Mole as they battle to extinguish an invisible enemy – underground fires that aggravate global warming. Vast blazes are ripping across the archipelago’s rainforests, unleashing a toxic haze over Southeast Asia that has triggered health fears and sent diplomatic tensions with Indonesia’s neighbours soaring. Jakarta deployed more than 9,000 personnel to battle fires turning land into charred landscapes and consuming forests in hard-hit Sumatra and Borneo island. But many of the blazes smoulder deep underground in once-swampy areas known as peatlands, where they can last for months and release eye-watering amounts of thick, acrid smoke. “It’s so much harder to fight fires on peatlands,” a dirty and exhausted Hendri Kusnardi told AFP outside smog-hit Pekanbaru city in Sumatra.

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Thousands pray for rain in Indonesia as forests go up in smoke

Reuters in The Telegram
September 11, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

JAKARTA – Thousands of Indonesians prayed for rain in haze-hit towns on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo on Wednesday, as forest fires raged at the height of the dry season, the state Antara news agency reported. Fires have burnt through parts of Sumatra and Borneo island for more than a month and the government has sent 9,000 military, police and disaster agency personnel to fight the flames. Indonesia’s neighbors regularly complain about smog caused by its forest blazes, which are often started to clear land for palm oil and pulp plantations. But Indonesia said this week it was not to blame and fires had been spotted by satellites in several neighboring countries. Several parts of Southeast Asia have seen unusually dry conditions in recent months including Indonesia, which has seen very little rain because of an El Nino weather pattern, its meteorological department has said.

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‘Worst of wildfires still to come’ despite Brazil claiming crisis is under control

By Tom Phillips
The Guardian
August 28, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

The fires raging in the Brazilian Amazon are likely to intensify over the coming weeks, a leading environmental expert has warned, despite government claims the situation had been controlled. …“The worst of the fire is still to come,” wrote Tasso Azevedo, a forest engineer and environmentalist who coordinates the deforestation monitoring group MapBiomas. Azevedo said many of the areas currently being consumed by flames were stretches of Amazon rainforest that had been torn down in the months of April, May and June. But areas deforested in July and August – when government monitoring systems detected a major surge in destruction – had yet to be torched. …Bolsonaro confirmed …he would attend a meeting …to draw up a plan to protect the Amazon rainforest, which straddles Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana and Suriname. On Wednesday 18 global fashion brands … were reported to have suspended leather purchases from Brazil over the crisis.

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While all eyes are on Brazil, Bolivia battles its own vast Amazon fires

The Associated Press in CBC News
August 27, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

While global attention has been focused on fires burning across the Brazilian Amazon, neighbouring Bolivia is battling its own vast blazes, which have charred an area nearly as extensive as the nation of Lebanon. At least 20,000 fires were burning across the country as of the Tuesday, and a total of 950,000 hectares had been burned so far this year — most of that in weeks — according to Cliver Rocha, director of the national Forests and Lands Authority. While some of the fires were burning in Bolivia’s share of the Amazon, the largest blazes were in the Chiquitania region of southeastern Bolivia, a zone of dry forest, farmland and open prairies that has seen an expansion of farming and ranching in recent years. The College of Biologists in the capital, La Paz, has estimated that the fires have destroyed $1.1 billion US worth of timber.

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Amazon fires are destructive, but they aren’t depleting Earth’s oxygen supply

By Scott Denning, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
The Conversation US
August 26, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have captured attention worldwide in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and increase agricultural development in the Amazon, and he appears to have followed through on that promise. The resurgence of forest clearing in the Amazon, which had decreased more than 80% following a peak in 2004, is alarming for many reasons. …The oft-repeated claim that the Amazon rainforest produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen is based on a misunderstanding. In fact nearly all of Earth’s breathable oxygen originated in the oceans, and there is enough of it to last for millions of years. …In sum, Brazil’s reversal on protecting the Amazon does not meaningfully threaten atmospheric oxygen. Even a huge increase in forest fires would produce changes in oxygen that are difficult to measure. 

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The Amazon in Brazil is on fire – how bad is it?

By The Visual Data Team
BBC News
August 23, 2019
Category: Forestry, Forest Fires
Region: International

Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – the most intense blazes for almost a decade. …So what’s actually happening and how bad are the fires? Brazil has seen a record number of fires in 2019, Brazilian space agency data suggests. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) says its satellite data shows an 85% increase on the same period in 2018. Forest fires … can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as by lightning strikes, but also by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing. …Most of the worst-affected regions are in the north of the country. …The Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Ipam) has stated the recent increase in the number of fires in the Amazon is directly related to deliberate deforestation. …Deforestation was 278% higher in July 2019 than in July 2018, according to Inpe. …But according to the data, emissions in Brazil were higher in the mid-2000s, as the chart below indicates.

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As forest fires rage, experts worry about the future of the Amazon

By Nicole Mortillaro
CBC News
August 22, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

As of Thursday, there are more than 165,000 fires burning in the Amazon rainforest — and a significant number of them, more than 75,000, are burning in Brazil. …And it is in crisis, experts say. And what’s making it worse, say some, are some of the economic and environmental policies put in place by the Brazilian government under the leadership of President Jair Bolsonaro… While some of the fires are naturally occurring, Amnesty International has also documented a number of arson attacks, allegedly by illegal loggers, miners and cattle ranchers, in Indigenous territories in the Amazon this year, including in Rondonia state, said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty’s secretary general. …On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to call the Amazon fires an “international crisis” that should be discussed by the G7 summit that will begin on Saturday in Biarritz, France. …Bolsonaro responded angrily to what he regarded as meddling.

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Amazon rainforest fires called a ‘very serious threat’ but misinformation is going viral

CBC News
August 23, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

The wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest have prompted a public outcry on social media, with many accusing news organizations of either ignoring the crisis or being slow to report on it. …a number of photos have gone viral, purportedly depicting the devastation wrought in the area. But how accurate are those pictures, and just how bad is the situation? CBC News answers those questions. …But news outlets have found that some of these photos are of different fires at different time periods from different geographic locations. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio reposted a picture on his Instagram, with more than three million likes, but CNN reported that it found the same picture on a website published in 2018. As for four photos shared by actor David  Licauco, none are of the current fires, CNN reported.  Instead, it discovered that one is of a 2018 wildfire in Sweden and another was from Montana in 2000.

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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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