Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Forest Fires

Forest Fires

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

By Jim Bailey
Nelson Star
August 6, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

In a time of extreme fire danger, Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue was put to the test on the weekend. Regional fire and rescue crews extinguished a series of three intentionally set fires in Marsh Creek near Fruitvale on Friday, and another blaze on Tamarac Avenue in Trail on Saturday. The first call came in at around 5 p.m. Friday, and regional firefighters from Trail, Montrose, and Fruitvale responded to a wildfire on Red Road near Marsh Creek Rd. The fire was under control within a half hour, however, while regional crews and a BC Wildfire team were conducting an investigation, a second fire was set at 8:09 p.m. … Just over an hour later, the third fire of the night was lit back in the forest. … Trail RCMP is leading the investigation.

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The wildfire near Shuswap Lake is still burning, and fire crews are still on scene

By Brendan Kergin
Castanet Kelowna
August 4, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire near Shuswap Lake is still burning, and fire crews are still on scene. BC Wildfire Service is listing the fire at 1.8 hectares, and stating the fire is still out of control. “The fire is in a terrain that has cliffs and is quite steep, which has been a challenge to the crews on site,” says fire information officer Gagan Lidhran. “It is still considered out of control because they haven’t been able to pull a full guard around the perimeter.” Lidhran says the advisory urging the public to avoid the area will be in place until the fire is completely out. BC Wildfire Service is still investigating the cause of the blaze, as it is unknown at this time.

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Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Nanaimo Bulletin
August 3, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Firefighters say a quick response in the middle of the night helped them contain a wildfire in tricky terrain on Pender Island. According to a social media post from Pender Island Fire Rescue, the department responded to a forest fire on the north side of Harbour Hill Drive at about 12:20 a.m. Monday and found a blaze approximately 70 metres by 70 metres. The department mentioned “extremely difficult terrain and accessibility” and said the fire is 75 per cent contained. B.C. Wildfire Service said it is assisting with helicopters and a crew.

UPDATE: Firefighters ‘mopping-up’ forest fire burning on Pender Island mountain

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Lightning ignites dozens of fires across B.C.’s Southern Interior

CBC News
August 1, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thunderstorms moving through B.C.’s Southern Interior over the weekend are suspected to have caused dozens of wildfires. In the past two days, the B.C. Wildfire Service has recorded 46 new wildfires, bringing the total number of active fires in the province to 49. The Kamloops Fire Centre says a storm cell that passed through the area Friday evening caused multiple fires, with 15 new wildfires confirmed on Saturday. The Solco Creek wildfire, 27 kilometres northeast of Oliver, is the largest in the province and has grown to approximately 13.8 hectares in size. It is classified as out of control. Later in the afternoon Saturday, thunderstorms moved southeast where 13 new wildfires are suspected to have been ignited by lightning. 

Highly visible wildfire ignites in West Kelowna, B.C. – Global News

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Residents warned of rising wildfire risk as temperatures soar in BC Interior

CBC News
July 28, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As heat warnings are issued across south and southeastern B.C., the provincial wildfire service is warning residents that scorching temperatures can increase the risk of scorched earth. Temperatures could rise as high as 36 C in the southern Interior this week, drying out forests and creating ideal wildfire conditions. According to Erika Berg, spokesperson for the B.C. Wildfire Service in Kamloops, there is a heightened risk of fire from Lillooet stretching east to Falkland, just west of the Okanagan Valley. Berg said as of July 29, a ban on category two and three fires will be in effect across the Kamloops Fire Centre region. This means no fires larger than two metres high by three metres wide will be permitted. Campfires, which are classified as 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres, will still be allowed. Similar restrictions were put in place in the Southeast Fire Centre last Friday.

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No campfires: Sooke raises fire danger rating to ‘Extreme’

By Aaron Guillen
Victoria News
July 29, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

…the District of Sooke has banned campfires, beach fires and backyard burning until further notice. The fire danger rating within the Sooke area is at extreme. The rating shot up from moderate to high on Friday and to its current level after a sunny weekend that saw a high of 26 C Sunday. “We’ve been fortunate enough that there hasn’t been a significant fire in Sooke this summer,” said Sooke Deputy Fire Chief Matt Barney. “But we’re exceptionally dry for this time of the year, as dry as July 2017. If this is what’s leading us into August, then that’s an issue.” …Propane fire rings are still allowed. Anything that creates a spark or is wood-burning isn’t allowed, Barney said. Those caught breaking the bans will receive a fine of $200.

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As far as B.C. wildfire forecasters are concerned, June did what they hoped

CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

It only takes a quick glance at British Columbia’s fire danger map to see the province is in good shape.  The vast majority of the province is covered in lime green and cool blue, indicating the risk of a wildfire starting in those areas is “low” or “very low.” Patches of land on the coast are marked as a “moderate” risk, but the blaring red of extreme risk is absent.  A damp, chilly June can take most of the credit.  “This month delivered,” said Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.  “When you look at it from a drought and from a wildfire perspective, you couldn’t ask for better.”  …Castellan said some places in B.C. saw “upwards of 140 per cent” of their normal precipitation in June, particularly in northern B.C.

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Heat increases forest fire hazard

By Ryan Forbes
Dryden Now
July 24, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, Ontario — The high heat and humidity across the region has brought the forest fire hazard to high, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are reminding all residents to burn safely. Six new forest fires were found in the region recently, which includes two fires near Dryden that are not under control, and two fires near Sioux Lookout. Sioux Lookout Fire 23 is not under control, but Fire 22 has been declared out. At this time, there are 14 active forest fires in the region. Five are not under control, five are under control and four are under observation. The forest fire hazard remains high across most of the region, with a moderate hazard near the Minnesota border.

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Nine new forest fires in Northwest Region

Thunder Bay News Watch
July 15, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, Ont. — A day after thunderstorms passed through the region, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry discovered nine new bushfires in Northwestern Ontario on Tuesday. Six of the fires occurred in the Fort Frances and Kenora districts, while the other three broke out north of Thunder Bay. All the fires are less than one hectare in size. They occurred at Kawene Lake east of Atikokan, Dogtooth Lake southeast of Kenora, Eva Lake east of Atikokan (two fires), a peninsula on Rainy Lake east of Fort Frances, and Crystal Lake east of Atikokan. There were also two outbreaks north of Wabinosh Bay on Lake Nipigon, about 25 kilometres south of Armstrong. The MNRF reports 22 active fires in the Northwest Region, including seven that are not under control.

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14 new forest fires in NW Ontario over the weekend

TB Newswatch
July 13, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, Ont. — Two fires in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Thunder Bay district are among the 14 new outbreaks reported on the weekend across Northwestern Ontario.  Thunder Bay Fire 33 is 0.1 hectares in size and is situated near Northern light Lake.  Thunder Bay Fire 32 is 0.3 hectares in size and is located near Buck Lake, about 40 kilometres north of Upsala.  The largest new fires in the region on the weekend was Nipigon 26, a 25-hectare blaze 15 kilometres northwest of Kasabonika First Nation.  It received air attack from waterbombers, and is not under control.  Elsewhere, Nipigon 25 is located east of Black Sturgeon Lake, and has burned about 0.7 hectares.  Nipigon 23 is 0.3 hectares in size, and is located 60 kilometres south of Eabametoong First Nation.

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Labrador forest fire crews hope wet weather provides relief from 5 active fires

CBC News
July 13, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

After a weekend battling some forest fires and keeping an eye on others, crews in Labrador are hoping wetter weather will bring relief in the battle against five fires burning in the region.  A fire at Sandy Island Lake, just outside Happy Valley-Goose Bay, is being actively contained by two water bombers, three helicopters and nine people. It grew from 25 hectares Friday evening to 101.7 hectares Monday morning.  “That one is still only 25 per cent contained, and most of the resources this morning is put on that fire,” said Wes Morgan, the province’s fire duty officer.  Two smaller fires are also burning near Happy Valley-Goose Bay, with one at Yetman’s Brook remaining at six hectares throughout the weekend, and another at Edward’s Brook growing from 0.3 hectares to 3.4 hectares by Monday.

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Eight forest fires are burning in the northeast region of Ontario

By Osobe Waberi
The Canadian press in Canada.com
July 9, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, Ontario — As a heat wave grips much of Ontario, dozens of forest fires are burning across the province’s north. As of Thursday afternoon, the province’s interactive fire map shows 46 new or active blazes, including 11 that are considered “not under control.” The situation comes as heat warnings are in effect for much of the province, from Eabametoong First Nation to Windsor. But a spokesman for the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says Ontario has actually seen fewer fires so far this year compared to the last decade. Fire information officer Jonathan Scott notes there have been 292 forest fires in the province in 2020 — up significantly from 2019, but well short of the 10-year average of 398.

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Forest fire crews see ‘active few days’ in northwestern Ontario due to heat, thunderstorms

CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Heat and thunderstorms in northwestern Ontario have led to a busy few days for forest fire crews in the area. As of Monday afternoon, there were 31 active fires in the northwest region, said Chris Marchand, fire information officer with Ontario’s Aviation, Forest Fires and Emergency Services. Nine of those fires are not under control, while the remainder are either under control or under observation. The majority of new fires were caused by lightning strikes, Marchand said, and none are threatening any communities. …Marchand said the fire hazard remains moderate to low in the southern areas of the region due to recent precipitation. However, the hazard is high to extreme in other places, including the Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Kenora, and Red Lake areas.

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Fire hazard leaps back to high

By PJ Wilson
The North Bay Nugget
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

ONTARIO — The fire rating in the North Bay area went from low to high in just one day, while in the French River-Dokis area it jumped to extreme. The Municipality of Burk’s Falls has imposed a fire ban in that community, while the North Bay Fire Department is keeping a close eye on conditions to determine if it will follow suit, according to Fire Chief Jason Whiteley. “We have some thunderstorms coming through the area” in the forecast, Whiteley said Tuesday, but whether there will be sufficient rain to lower the fire rating is the question. Six new fires were reported in northeastern Ontario Saturday by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and another eight were detected Monday.

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Good progress reported on forest fire burning north of Kamiskotia Lake

By Bob McIntyre
My
July 6, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

That forest fire north of Kamiskotia Lake is still burning, a day after first being spotted.  MNRF information officer Isabelle Chenard says four fire ranger teams of four members each are on scene.  “They’re making good progress on fire suppression and the fire size is seven hectares,” she tells My Timmins Now Dot Com.  “The status of the fire is still not under control, but as I mentioned, they are making some excellent progress.”  The blaze is between Kamiskotia and Hicks Oke Bog Provincial Park.  Meanwhile, the forest fire hazard depends on exactly where you are.  Chenard says there was only scattered rainfall this afternoon.  “Areas that have escaped the highly localized rainfall remain in a high to extreme hazard for today in the region,” she states.

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East Beach Road fire remains at 84 acres

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
August 6, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The number of firefighters working the East Beach Road Fire at Lake Crescent continues to be trimmed or “right-sized” as fire containment progresses, the Western Washington Type 3 Incident Management Team overseeing the operations said Wednesday. The fire remained at 84 acres in size with 65 percent containment Wednesday. Three hand crews with 84 total personnel bolstered by two engines and two fallers worked Wednesday to extinguish hot spots while cautiously and deliberately identifying snags and hazards within the fire footprint to mitigate potential damage from rolling debris … A hard closure of East Beach Road has been put in place due to the threat of hazard trees and rolling debris posing dangers to motorists traveling in that area.

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Montana Wildfire Update For August 4, 2020

Montana Public Radio
August 4, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The human caused Falling Star Fire burning northwest of Laurel in south central Montana is still listed as 80 percent contained, but firefighting efforts got a big boost Monday night from rainfall from an overnight thunderstorm. Most of the crews working the fire lines have been released but a few fire trucks from local companies are still patrolling the containment lines.  State and local resources are on the scene of the Horse Creek 2 Fire in Big Horn County. The 1,600 acre fire started on Monday and is burning in grass, shrubs and ponderosa pine. T…The lightning caused Old Baldy Fire burning northeast of Sheridan in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is listed at 129 acres and is zero percent contained. Crews have been working to construct a contingency line along the western edge of the fire where many dead trees made it difficult to engage the fire directly.

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Hard-fought fire continues burning near Lake Crescent

by Keith Thorpe and Pierre LaBossiere
Peninsula Daily News
August 2, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A stubborn wildfire at Lake Crescent may take longer to extinguish than previously expected, a spokesman for the team managing firefighting efforts said Saturday.  The East Beach Road Fire, believed to be human-caused, stood at 65 acres on a steep slope above East Beach Road on the north side of the lake in Olympic National Park land. As of Saturday morning, it was listed as 15 percent contained.  Nick Cronquist, public information officer for the Western Washington Type 3 Incident Management Team, which is coordinating firefighting efforts, said terrain is hindering fire suppression.  “Due to the steepness and the grade, it’s going to be a longer fire than I think a lot of people expected,” he said from a command center and fire camp set up at Crescent School in nearby Joyce.

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Thousands remain evacuated from Southern California wildfire

The Associated Press in ABC News
August 3, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

BANNING, California — Evacuation orders remained in place early Monday for thousands of people after a wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles exploded in size and forced crews to battle flames in triple-digit heat. The Apple Fire in Riverside County consumed more than 31 square miles of dry brush and timber, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As of Monday morning, it was 5% contained. The cause was under investigation. Officials allowed flames to run up the side of Mount San Gorgonio, an 11,000-foot peak, because it wasn’t safe to let crews work in such steep, rugged terrain, said Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. …One home and two outbuildings were destroyed, Cal Fire said. No injuries were reported. Evacuation orders and advisories were issued for about 8,000 people in mountain, canyon and foothill neighborhoods.

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Crews battle private land timber fire near Hood River

KOIN 6 News
August 2, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND, Ore. — A fire on private timberland along Fir Mountain Road in Hood River County has scorched about 70 acres but is not threatening any structures at this time, the Oregon Department of Forestry said Sunday morning. The fire, about 8 miles southeast of Hood River, may impact some roads in the area. Officials with ODF said the fire is burning in slash piles, nearby standing timber and smaller replanted trees. Winds pushed the fire outside some of the fire lines that were dozed in the very early hours of Sunday, but a fireline is being built, officials said. Water tenders are being used as well as a helicopter with water bucket.

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Gillem and Caldwell fires merge, but growth slows

Herald and News
July 30, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — Explosive growth of the Caldwell Fire near Lava Beds National Monument has slowed and fire crews spent Thursday increasing containment of one of the nation’s largest fires. As of press time Thursday, the Caldwell Fire was estimated at 79,316 acres in size. The Gillem and Caldwell fires, both lightning-caused, merged Wednesday and will now be managed and referred to only as the Caldwell Fire. Fire managers estimated they had about 45 percent containment on that fire, despite the fact that a flag warning was in effect much of Thursday afternoon and will remain in effect until 8 p.m. Friday. …A mandatory evacuation remains in place for the Medicine Lake Recreation Area. The Lava Beds National Monument remains closed.

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Caldwell Fire grows to 70,000 acres

Herald and News
July 29, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Firefighters got the upper hand on the Caldwell Fire near Tulelake on Tuesday, slowing the blaze down and increasing containment. As of press time Tuesday, the Caldwell was measured at 70,622 acres with 30 percent containment. Fire crews started Tuesday with no containment of a fire that exploded Sunday and Monday as storms and high winds fed flames that were burning through dry grass and timber. Fire crews said they expect to plan to be fighting the fire for nearly a month. …A new lightning-caused fire was detected in the area Monday afternoon. The Gillam Fire is located just west of Gillam Ridge, near the northwest corner of the Caldwell Fire. It is being managed as part of the July Complex. …Up in Oregon, firefighters are at 90 percent containment of the Ben Young fire outside Paisley.

 

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What we know Wednesday about 4 North State wildfires

By The Associated Press, and Mike Chapman and Matt Brannon
Redding Record Searchlight
July 22, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SUSANVILLE — Firefighters and aircraft were working Wednesday to halt the spread of large forest fires in Northern California as unstable weather brought the risk of gusty winds, thunderstorms and lightning strikes that could start new blazes. The Gold Fire in northern Lassen County grew to 14,500 acres Wednesday evening from Tuesday’s 8,500 acres. It’s burning south of the tiny Modoc County community of Adin and was only 10% contained, up slightly from 5% earlier in the day. Two firefighters were injured at that blaze Monday and were flown to a hospital in Redding, treated and released. … Evacuation orders are in place for residents in the fire area. …The National Weather Service has extended a red flag warning through the day until Wednesday evening. Firefighters were told to anticipate heavy winds and dry lightning.

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Firefighters Battle Forest Fires in Northeastern California

Associated Press in Fire Engineering
July 21, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SUSANVILLE, Calif. — Firefighters and aircraft worked Tuesday to halt the spread of two forest fires in rural northeastern California. The Gold Fire in northern Lassen County nearly doubled in size to 7 square miles south of the tiny Modoc County community of Adin and there was zero containment. Two firefighters were injured at that blaze Monday and were flown to a hospital in Redding but there were no details early Tuesday on their conditions or what happened, said Alisha Herring, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Herring said damage to a fiber optic cable was interfering with communication. In southern Lassen County, the Hog Fire covered 12.5 square miles (32.4 square kilometers) about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the town of Susanville and was just 5% contained. The size of the fire was reduced from earlier reports after improved mapping, Cal Fire said.

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Wildfire in Deschutes National Forest grows to almost 400 acres

By Ryan Nguyen
The Oregonian
July 19, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Firefighters are working to contain a blaze that broke out in the Deschutes National Forest about 20 miles south of Bend.  The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office warned the 150 residents of Newberry Estates, a neighborhood near La Pine, to get ready for a potential evacuation but winds have now pushed the fire away from the subdivision and the office has since dropped the evacuation notice.  The office is asking people to avoid the area east of Newberry Estates and south to Finey Butte Road for the next few days as firefighters continue to work.  The fire has grown to 393 acres as of Sunday morning, according to a statement from the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center. About 75 firefighters surrounded the fire with dozer lines to contain it, and the blaze moved into an area of the Deschutes National Forest that had been thinned to prevent forest fires from growing.

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Spence fire holds at 78 acres

By Ryan Pfeil
Mail Tribune
July 17, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Oregon Department of Forestry crews kept a wildfire burning near Klamath Falls in check Friday morning, the blaze staying at 78 acres, the agency reported. Containment on the Spence fire sits at 60%, ODF spokesperson Jennifer Case reported. Heading into the weekend, objectives include continuing to secure containment lines and to knock down hazard trees and continue mop-up in areas within 300 feet of the perimeter. The blaze ignited Thursday on Spence Mountain, a wooded, steep area off Highway 140 near Upper Klamath Lake’s Howard Bay, about 15 miles northwest of Klamath Falls as the crow flies. “Any time you get into steep terrain, rocky areas, heavy timber, it’s going to be difficult to fight fire,” Case said, adding the nearby highway compounds the challenge.

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Pilot dies after helicopter crashes in forest while battling Polles Fire

By Rachel Cole
12news.com
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

PAYSON, Ariz — Sad developments in the helicopter crash that took the life of a Valley firefighter during operations over the Polles Fire burning in the Tonto National Forest that was sparked by lightning. It’s a tragic loss, as crews not only continue to battle the flames but are now dealing with the loss of one of their own. Brian Boatman, 37, died after conducting standard supply missions to the “boots on the ground” crews fighting the flames in remote areas. …Officials confirmed to 12 News, the aviation firefighter was aiding ground crews with countless supplies and commend his efforts. …”This is one of the tragic days that we all do not want to have on our watch,” Incident Commander John Pierson said.

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Northern Arizona faces extreme fire danger as forests close

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
July 3, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Faced with a frightening fire season, the Tonto National Forest slammed its doors effective July 2 to camping, hiking, off-roaders, bikers — you name it. Only a handful of recreation sites remain open, mostly roads and boat ramps connected to the lower-elevation reservoirs like Roosevelt, Saguaro, Canyon and Bartlett lakes. Three campgrounds on the Houston Mesa Campground Loop in Payson also remain open. The closure order on the brink of the July 4 weekend comes on top of the restoration of the statewide, stay-at-home order, delivering one more body blow to the tourism dependent economies of Rim Country. The higher-elevation Coconino and the Apache-Sitgreaves national forests remain open, although many recreation sites are closed on account of the pandemic. Fire restrictions remain in effect throughout the region.

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State says number of wildfires has soared in Maine in 2020

By Bill Trotter
Bangor Daily News
July 25, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

The Maine Forest Service said Friday that Maine has had a 170 percent increase in wildfires so far this year over 2019, resulting in the highest fire count in 10 years.  Calling it “an unprecedented number,” forest rangers said they have responded to nearly 800 fires, representing close to 900 acres, throughout Maine so far in 2020.  The state agency released the figures on Friday as it said it is looking for witnesses to a wildfire that burned 45 acres and destroyed a cabin and other structures in Baxter State Park in May.  Lightning has been ruled out as a cause of the fire, which started near the Appalachian Trail on the West Branch of the Penobscot River, the forest service said. A log cabin, two outbuildings and a newly constructed trail bridge over Katahdin Stream were destroyed by the blaze, according to the forest service.

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Wildfire forces dozens to evacuate French surfing hotspot

Associated Free Press in Yahoo News
July 31, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Anglet, France – A dramatic forest fire in the middle of a French coastal resort was contained early Friday after destroying nearly a dozen homes and forcing around 100 people to evacuate overnight, officials said. The blaze erupted late Thursday in the Chiberta forest park at Anglet in southwest France, whose beaches just north of Biarritz draw surfers from around the world. Soaring temperatures that reached nearly 42 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) fanned the flames that burned 165 hectares (400 acres) in total. …11 homes were destroyed and five more rendered uninhabitable …Residents described an inferno that spread quickly through the closely packed pine trees, which like much of France’s Basque Country had seen extremely dry conditions this summer. …The blaze was the latest of several that erupted in southern and central France this week, kicking off the annual fire season which officials warn could be worsened by the drought and dry heat.

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Almost 3 billion animals affected by Australian bushfires, report shows

By Graham Readfearn & Adam Morton
The Guardian UK
July 28, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by Australia’s devastating bushfire season of 2019 and 2020, according to scientists who have revealed for the first time the scale of the impact on the country’s native wildlife.  The Guardian has learned that an estimated 143 million mammals, 180 million birds, 51 million frogs and a staggering 2.5 billion reptiles were affected by the fires that burned across the continent. Not all the animals would have been killed by the flames or heat, but scientists say the prospects of survival for those that had withstood the initial impact was “probably not that great” due to the starvation, dehydration and predation by feral animals – mostly cats – that followed.  An interim report based on work by 10 scientists from five institutions, commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), suggests the toll from the fires goes much further than an earlier estimate of more than 1 billion animals killed.

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Portugal on high alert as over 850 firefighters battle wildfire

By Catarina Demony, Lisbon
Reuters in the Globe and Mail
July 26, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Portugal will go on high alert as more than 850 firefighters struggle to put out a fire sweeping across part of the country’s central region on Sunday, with strong winds and high temperatures complicating efforts to tackle the blaze. The wildfire has been raging in the municipality of Oleiros since Saturday afternoon… and has already forced the precautionary evacuation of a number of people. A 21-year-old firefighter died in a road accident on Saturday evening while fighting the fire and seven others were injured, including one civilian. …Portugal’s Internal Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita said it could take firefighters until Tuesday or Wednesday to bring the wildfire under control. …One of the root causes of its frequent wildfires is that parts of the country’s interior are deserted as people have left to live in cities or abroad, and the job of clearing trees and bushes is neglected, creating a fire risk.

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Greece wildfires rage out of control

BBC
July 23, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Firefighters are battling out of control forest fires in Greece. Locals and tourists have been evacuated as fires continue to rage near the city of Corinth in the eastern Peloponnese for a second day. The city’s mayor says the flames are out of control and has called for a state of emergency to be declared in the region. More than 260 firefighters are currently tackling the blaze, with 10 helicopters and 10 planes assisting. “Despite the fact that almost all the aerial firefighting equipment is operating in the area, the situation is not under control,” Mayor Vassilis Nanopoulos told local media. No injuries or fatalities have been reported yet.

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Disastrous Wildfires Sweep Siberia: In Photos

The Moscow Times
July 23, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

SIBERIA — As massive wildfires continue to engulf swathes of Siberia, environmentalists warn that the blazes could become the worst in Russia’s history and exacerbate global climate change. According to the Russian Federal Agency of Forestry, the total area of forest fires in Russia covered an area of 1.62 million hectares as of Monday. Siberia’s wildfires in 2020 so far have burned an area larger than the size of Greece, Greenpeace Russia said. A Greenpeace photographer managed to capture photos of the natural disaster in the Krasnoyarsk region last week

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Greek firefighters battle forest blaze near seaside village

By George Georgiopoulos and Lefteris Papadimas
Reuters
July 22, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

ATHENS  – Greek firefighters are battling to control a large forest fire fanned by strong winds near the seaside village of Kechries in the eastern Peloponnese, fire brigade officials said on Wednesday. Authorities said they had been forced to evacuate a residential settlement as the blaze, burning through pine trees, came close to a military camp where explosives were stored. Thick dark smoke clouded the area, with the front of the blaze moving south in very windy conditions. No damage to property or injuries had been reported. “The blaze is fanned by strong winds, we have recommended the evacuation of three settlements. So far there are no injuries or damage to homes,” a fire brigade official said. …More than 70 firefighters were battling the blaze, assisted by five helicopters and two planes, with volunteers also helping.

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The forest fires in Iran that won’t stop burning

By Tahereh Hadian-Jazy
The Atlantic Council
July 20, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Iran has been ravaged by hundreds wildfires spreading across thousands of acres since May 22. The phenomenon is not entirely new but, the number of fires have increased. The fires have raised questions and concerns as to whether they were caused by accident or arson. The Arasbaran forest in northwestern Iran was the latest to catch fire in early July. The Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Bushehr provinces have also been dealing with forest fires in the past few months, while fires in the Khuzestan, Lorestan, and Ilam provinces in June not only destroyed forests, but acres of vegetation, pastureland, and grassland. …According to Deputy Agriculture Minister Masoud Mansour, 90 percent of the fires were caused unintentionally by human error.

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Siberian Wildfires Cover Area Larger Than Greece

The Moscow Times
July 20, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Wildfires in Russia have burned across an area larger than the size of Greece so far in 2020, Greenpeace Russia said as it criticized the authorities of inaction. Using satellite data, Greenpeace Russia estimated that 19 million hectares (47 million acres) burned across Russia’s forests, steppes and fields from January to mid-July. The country of Greece, by comparison, is more than 13 million hectares in size. …Russia’s Federal Forestry Agency has identified 10.1 million hectares of wildfires raging across the country since the start of the year. More than half of the blazes were located in forests and over 90% burned in Siberia and the Russian Far East, it said. Russian officials said Monday that more than 9,000 fires have destroyed 1.2 million hectares of forests.

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Russia seeds clouds to douse Siberia fires

The Australian Associated Press – 7News
July 10, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Russian firefighters have been seeding clouds to bring down rain over wildfires raging in Siberia, authorities say. The Russian forestry agency says active work is underway to battle 158 forest fires covering 46,261 hectares as of Friday. Just a few days ago, that area was more than three times larger. Firefighters have used planes to fire chemicals into the clouds above fires in northern, remote parts of the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions of Siberia, the agency says. Sweltering heat and dry weather have helped wildfires spread across the region and into the boreal forest and tundra that blanket northern Russia. Environmental group Greenpeace, which monitors the spread of wildfires in Russia, confirmed rain had helped reduce fires in northern Siberia but that others had appeared in the south near the big regional cities of Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk.

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Ukraine firefighters beat back fatal forest blazes

Associated Free Press in RTL Luxembourg
July 8, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Forest fires in eastern Ukraine that have killed five people and left dozens homeless are being brought under control by firefighters, officials said on Wednesday. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the situation was improving and he had seen no new fires during a fly-over with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior officials. The blaze began on Monday in Lugansk region and engulfed Smolyaninove, a village just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the front line of Ukraine’s war with Russia-backed separatists. More than 1,200 firefighters, rescue workers and National Guard are fighting fires in three locations, Avakov said. …More than 100 homes have been destroyed entirely in two villages, with dozens more damaged, according to the ministry. …The ministry said on Tuesday six people had died as a result of the fires, but revised the death toll down to five.

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Siberian temperatures hit June record, wildfires spread

CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

RUSSIA — Temperatures in Arctic Siberia soared to a record average for June amid a heat wave that is stoking some of the worst wildfires the region has ever known, European Union data showed on Tuesday. Global temperatures last month were on par with a 2019 record, and “exceptional warmth” was recorded over Arctic Siberia, the EU’s earth observation program Copernicus said, part of a trend scientists are calling a “warning cry.” Average temperatures in the region were more than 5 C above normal. …The Russian forestry agency said that as of July 6, there were 246 forest fires covering 140,073 hectares and an emergency situation has been declared in seven regions. Russian state TV footage this week showed planes dumping water near huge columns of white smoke.

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