Wildfires – Australia

A fast-moving grass fire that burnt more than 1200 hectares southwest of Melbourne is now under control. Almost 100 firefighters continued to battle the fire near Little River overnight after a late cool change made efforts to contain the blaze easier.

About 19 bushfires had started in Victoria by mid-morning Friday, with the worst in the Little River area, southwest of Melbourne where an evacuation order was issued.



Wildfires – Queensland, Australia

Strong winds and high temperatures have tested exhausted firefighters battling more than 110 blazes across central Queensland throughout Sunday.

More than 160 firefighting crews were battling the blazes on Sunday night, with bushfires at Deepwater and Eungella, in central Queensland, Tinnanbar, on the Fraser Coast, Karara, near Warwick in the state’s south, and North Stradbroke Island of most concern.

Residents in the Captain Creek area, west of Agnes Water, were told to prepare to leave on Sunday night as an unpredictable bushfire was moving southeast towards the region.

To the south, evacuated residents in the Winfield area, south of Baffle Creek, were advised they could return home on Sunday night as the Deepwater blaze no longer threatened their properties.

And further west, Lowmead residents were told the immediate threat to their homes had passed and they could return home to their rural community.


Wildfires – CO2 Emissions

Wildfires in California in 2018 released the rough equivalent of about 68 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide — about the same amount of carbon emissions as are produced in a year to provide electricity to the state.

The carbon dioxide figure — based on data analyzed by the U.S. Geological Survey — is more than 15 percent of all emissions produced by California in a year.

Wildfires – Australia

A central Queensland man has died and 10 people including seven children who were caught up in the state’s bushfires have had to be airlifted to safety, as authorities urged residents in the path of the Deepwater bushfire to leave the area immediately.

As two men were arrested for starting fires in central Queensland, more than 100 fires continued to burn across the state. Heatwave conditions were expected to continue over the weekend and the prospect of an incoming cyclone threatened to complicate things further.


Wildfires – Australia

More than 100 wildfires burned across Queensland in eastern Australia on Thursday, the second day of evacuations and rapidly changing conditions affecting thousands of people during a sweltering heat wave.

Conditions improved on Thursday, but residents remain in danger as the heat wave is expected to continue for days.

On Wednesday, when there were as many as 190 fires, the government rated the danger “catastrophic” for the first time in the state’s history. Schools were closed and there were scattered reports of property damage, but there were no immediate reports of any deaths.


Wildfires – Australia

Thousands of people were being evacuated from their homes in northeast Australia late on Wednesday, as bushfires raged across Queensland state amid a scorching heatwave. More than 100 fires continue to burn across the state but favourable conditions overnight allowed firefighters to make some progress on one major fire at Gracemere, near Rockhampton.

About 8,000 people were told to leave the town of Gracemere, south of the central coast area of Rockhampton, as a fast-moving blaze threatened homes.

Early on Thursday, residents of two more communities – Campwin Beach and Sarina Beach, south of Mackay – were woken by police and emergency text messages telling them they must leave.


Wildfires – California

The two wildfires that scorched 250,000 acres in California, Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire, are 100% contained after raging for over two weeks. But the death toll from Northern California’s Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest fire on record, continues to climb, reaching 88 with over 200 people still missing. Firefighters continue to probe the remains of the fire for human remains.


Wildfires – Australia

Hundreds of Australians have evacuated their homes due to bushfires amid “unprecedented” weather conditions in the state of Queensland, officials say.

About 40 bushfires are burning across the state following a heatwave, said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

The most serious blaze, 450km (280 miles) north of Brisbane, has destroyed at least two homes, damaged four others and prompted evacuation orders.

The conditions have been described as “highly unusual” for this time of year.

The largest bushfire is about 50km long and has burnt through approximately 11,000 hectares in the Deepwater National Park.


Wildfires – California – Update

Hundreds of people remain missing in the wake of a pair of deadly wildfires that have been burning across both ends of California.

The two monstrous blazes, which both ignited earlier this month, have claimed at least 87 lives while laying waste to a total area of nearly 400 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials said that the remains of at least 54 people have been positively identified so far.

The vast majority of the deaths — 84 in total — were due to the Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildland fire in the state’s history.

The number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County was down to 475 on Friday evening after having reached 605 on Thursday, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office. The number is expected to continue fluctuating as officials account for residents.


Wildfires – California – Update

Camp Fire

— Started on Nov. 8 in Butte County in Northern California

— 77 people have died, making the Camp Fire the deadliest in California’s history

— 151,000 acres burned

— 66 percent contained

— 11,713 homes destroyed, 472 commercial buildings destroyed and 3,388 other buildings destroyed

— 5,332 fire personnel involved


Woolsey Fire

— Started on Nov. 8 in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in Southern California

— at least 3 people dead

— 96,949 acres

— 94 percent contained

— destroyed 1,500 structures

— 1,086 fire personnel involved


Wildfires – Australia

A bushfire which was burning out of control on the Yorke Peninsula has been downgraded after a mass response from Country Fire Service volunteers. The fire was burning towards Maitland, Warawurlie, Yorke Valley, Spencer Highway and Port Victoria Road. Eleven CFS units from across the Yorke Peninsula responded to the fire, supported by bulk water carriers. Four waterbombers were also called to protect the town.


Wildfires – California, USA

At least 66 people are dead and more than 600 missing after California’s Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise on Nov. 8. Now, a new satellite view shows the beginning of the horror.

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This satellite image, captured on Nov. 8, 2018, by Landsat 8, shows short-wave infrared (red), which gives the full extent of the actively burning area of the Camp Fire, just four hours after it started. The red patches are fires that leapfrogged in front of the primary burn front.

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A visible-light version of the Landsat-8 image from Nov. 8, providing a view of the gray smoke billowing from the Camp Fire.

Wildfires – Australia

Lives and homes remain in danger from a fast-moving and out-of-control bushfire heading towards a roadhouse in Western Australia’s north. A watch and act alert is in place for people at or near Pardoo Roadhouse and east of the De Grey River including De Grey Station, Pardoo Station, Goldsworthy, Shay Gap, Warralong Community and Yarrie Mine Camp in the Shire of East Pilbara.


Wildfires – California, USA

Authorities searching through the blackened aftermath of California’s deadliest wildfire Wednesday released the names of some 130 people who are unaccounted, including many in their 80s and 90s, and dozens more could still be unaccounted for. Officials in Northern California said Tuesday that search crews had found six more bodies, bringing the death toll from the so-called Camp Fire to 56 and the statewide total to 59.

Meanwhile cities in California up tp 350 miles from the wildfires are feeling the effects of the smoke. On Wednesday a public health emergency was declared due to the wildfire smoke pollution.


Shorebirds in Peril

Across the planet, shorebirds are in serious trouble. In the past 50 years their well-documented North American populations are estimated to have plummeted by at least 70 percent on average, and shorebirds elsewhere are hardly doing better, if not worse.

Reasons are many—the shorelines and mudflats where the birds feed are polluted or disappearing, and many of the migrants among them struggle to find food and resting places in areas where they used to. Some are also targeted by hunters.

For a species to survive in the face of such an onslaught, a large number of healthy baby birds need to enter the population each year. Biologists have long believed this is one of the reasons many birds migrate north to breed; the challenging Arctic climate should keep them from being bothered by nest predators as frequently as birds in the tropics.

The results of a large analysis featuring data on 38,191 nests in 237 shorebird populations around the world that ornithologists have monitored during breeding seasons by looking for signs of predation such as broken egg shells, published last week in Science, are pretty clear: In the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s tropical shorebird nests were indeed suffering the most predation—but since then, as nests around the world have been losing more eggs to predators, the ones in the Arctic have been especially hard-hit. The tropics did see a statistically insignificant increase, but the numbers in the Arctic are staggering: Just a few decades ago only one Arctic egg in three would be lost to predators. Today two out of three are eaten.

The researchers believe climate change is a major culprit. “Our analysis shows that the faster the annual mean temperature has increased, the higher the predation on eggs has become.

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Wildfires – California, USA

The “Camp Fire” in Northern California has scorched some 130,000 acres and is 35 percent contained, according to officials Tuesday night. In addition, the “Camp Fire” death toll has now reached 48. Statewide there are a total of 50 deaths.

Some 9,000 firefighters have been battling the wildfires, which have become the deadliest and costliest in state history. Search teams have been using power saws and cadaver dogs to try to locate victims of the “Camp Fire.”

Those who survived have been scrambling to find a place to stay. In Southern California, evacuation orders were lifted for many of the areas affected by the “Woolsey Fire,” but some came home only to be told to leave again.

Camp Fire

Location: Butte County

130,000 acres burned

35 percent contained

48 fatalities confirmed, 3 firefighters injured

228 people unaccounted for

8,817 structures destroyed, 7,600 of them homes

Woolsey Fire

Location: Los Angeles County, Ventura County

97,114 acres burned (roughly the size of Denver)

40 percent contained

2 fatalities confirmed, 3 firefighters injured

Some 370 structures destroyed, 57,000 in danger

Hill Fire

Location: Ventura County

4,531 acres burned

92 percent contained