Wildfires – Portugal – Update

More than 1 000 firefighters were still battling Monday a giant forest fire that swept through central Portugal at the weekend, killing at least 62 people.

Portugal’s national route 236 was transformed into a road of hell as the ferocious blaze ripped through the wooded countryside around the epicentre in Pedrogao Grande.

Although the searing temperatures in Portutal had dropped slightly on Monday, the fire was still raging, spreading to neighbouring regions of Castelo Branco and Coimbra.

Firefighters were continuing a grim search for bodies, with Costa warning on Sunday that the death toll could still rise.


Wildfires – Portugal

A raging wildfire killed 57 people and injured dozens more in Portugal, with some victims burned to death in their cars as they tried to flee.

At least 59 people were injured in the blaze Saturday, including four firefighters and a child. Some were hospitalized in serious condition Sunday. Some victims got stuck in their cars and on the side of the road in what officials described as the “greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years.” The blaze spread Saturday onto Pedrogao Grande town, forcing residents to try and leave the town to escape towering flames.

Firefighters were still fighting the flames Sunday.

Wildfires – California, USA

An explosive wildfire Saturday quickly blackened more than 1,000 acres and destroyed two outbuildings at Castaic Lake, where firefighters toiled in hot and dry weather to prevent the flames from advancing. Access to fight the fire was limited, but fixed wing aircrafts and boats were brought in to fight the flames. Helicopters syphoned water from the lake to make drops on the flames.


Wildfires – Spain and Portugal

Thousands of firefighters in Spain and Portugal on Wednesday battled blazes that threatened locals and tourists, as authorities hoped the arrival of cooler weather would help tame the flames.

One of the most devastating fires was raging in Portugal’s Peneda-Geres National Park not far from the border with Spain’s northern Galicia region, where there were five major wildfires. “It is a calamity for the natural park, the only one in Portugal, and for tourism.”

The blaze encircled two hamlets of granite houses, Paradela and Varzea, leading officials to temporarily evacuate their residents overnight.

Some 300 firefighters brought one of the largest fires, which has been burning since Monday near the northern town of Boticas, under control on Wednesday afternoon.

On Spain’s eastern coast firefighters had managed to stabilise a wildfire raging since Sunday near the popular resort of Benidorm that prompted the temporary evacuation of 1,400 people.

Another wildfire on the holiday island of Menorca was declared under control on Tuesday night after destroying scrubland and pine forest near Arenal d’en Castell, emergency services said.

Wildfires have so far this year destroyed over 107,000 hectares of land in mainland Portugal and another 5,400 on the holiday island of Madeira, where fires killed three people in August and charred dozens of homes.


Russian pilots put out 17 wildfires endangering Portugal

Seventeen blazes, charring a total area of 2,000 hectares in Portugal, have been extinguished by the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s aircraft over the past two weeks.

Wildfires – USA

Thirty-five large, uncontained wildfires were burning in the West, and firefighters were making initial attacks on another 112 new blazes to prevent them from spreading.

Firefighters in the region mostly faced windy, dry conditions that have fanned flames that destroyed buildings and forced evacuations in California, Washington, Idaho and elsewhere. Here’s a look at the major wildfires in the West:

CALIFORNIA – Authorities say a wildfire that destroyed 45 homes on California’s central coast was not intentionally set but they were still trying to determine the cause. Cal Fire says arson has been ruled out in the 10-day blaze that has charred 64 square miles of dry brush and timber. The fire was 39 percent surrounded and at least 2,400 people were under evacuation orders in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties. Additional warnings for people to be ready to flee were issued Wednesday and one arm of Lake Nacimiento was closed to boaters. Cal Fire’s Rich Eagan says flames were more than two miles from Hearst Castle, which remains closed but was no longer at immediate risk.

A fire burning for a month north of Big Sur grew again to 135 square miles. Hundreds of homes remain threatened by the fire in rugged wilderness coast along Highway 1. The blaze was sparked by an illegal campfire. It is 60 percent contained.

IDAHO – A fast-moving rangeland wildfire in eastern Idaho expanded to nearly 70 square miles Wednesday, forcing evacuations, threatening a windfarm and burning habitat needed by sage grouse, a federally protected bird. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office says evacuations are in place, with up to 70 buildings along U.S. Highway 26 threatened.

Officials say the human-caused fire reported Sunday about 7 miles east of Idaho Falls is making wind-driven runs to the north and east.

In central Idaho, a 160-square-mile wildfire in a remote, mountainous area continues to defy containment and burn through timbered slopes that are difficult for firefighters to reach.

MONTANA – Cooler weather has slowed Montana’s largest wildfire, though 45 homes are still evacuated and 130 more are on alert. The fire northeast of Thompson Falls had burned 33 square miles as of Wednesday morning. Fire officials say crews have made progress in securing fire lines and protecting structures. The weather was cooperating again Wednesday with lighter winds and higher relative humidity forecast.

Minimal fire activity is also being reported from a fire burning west of Lakeside. About 75 homes and other structures are within a half-mile of the fire’s perimeter. No evacuations have been ordered.

UTAH – Firefighters in northern Utah are working to contain a growing wildfire near a ski resort that’s now crossed the border into southern Idaho. Fire spokeswoman Sierra Hellstrom said Wednesday that wind and high temperatures Tuesday afternoon had pushed the fire to 1.4 square miles. It’s burning about 23 miles northwest of Logan, and about one-fourth of a mile from the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, which was on pre-evacuation notice this week. Hellstrom says no buildings are imminently threatened at the resort.

WASHINGTON – Favorable weather conditions helped crews make progress Wednesday against a series of wildfires in Eastern Washington that have burned at least 18 homes this week.

A fire burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation was 30 percent contained. That fire covered more than 27 square miles and had destroyed at least 13 homes on the reservation, said Jamie Sijohn, a spokeswoman for the tribe. “The devastating fire jumped the Spokane River from Lincoln County onto the Spokane reservation in three separate locations,” Sijohn said. It roared toward the town of Wellpinit, forcing the evacuation of the entire town on Sunday. But that order has since been lifted, Sijohn said.

Meanwhile, a fire near the town of Davenport in Lincoln County covered 6.5 square miles, and was 20 percent contained.

Another fire south of Spokane, in the Valleyford area, was 50 percent contained. It had burned more than 10 square miles and destroyed at least five homes, officials said. Mandatory evacuations ended on that fire on Tuesday night.

WYOMING – Some tourists heading to Yellowstone National Park during the busy summer season were facing an hourlong detour Wednesday as a wildfire in neighbouring Grand Teton National Park kept a highway closed. Major tourist areas in both parks are open as the National Park Service holds events to celebrate its 100th anniversary this week. A route leading into Yellowstone’s South Entrance was shut down, so visitors coming from the south through Wyoming had to take a detour into Idaho. But firefighters hope cooler weather slows the flames over the next couple of days.


Wildfires – Madeira, Portugal

Three people are now known to have died in wildfires that have advanced upon Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira.

A thousand people have evacuated from homes and hotels. Several buildings have been destroyed, including the five-star Choupana Hills hotel.

Fires have burned for two days on the holiday island off north-west Africa.

Wildfires have also affected the Portuguese mainland in recent days as temperatures climb above 35C.

There were 109 active fires burning on Wednesday morning, according to Portugal’s civil protection agency, with 11 causing particular concern – mainly in the north-west of the mainland.

In Arouca, dozens of people were forced to flee their homes overnight after strong winds fanned the flames of the fires. Some main roads have also been closed.

More than 3,200 emergency workers are battling the flames across the country.

Wildfires – California, USA

A Southern California wildfire has surged in size and put thousands of homes in potential peril.

Smoke plumes roiling from flaming ridges of the San Bernardino Mountains blew all the way across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas as the blaze on Monday forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes. People in some 375 homes were ordered to evacuate, authorities said. 5 000 more were warned to be ready to leave their homes.

Firefighters aided by 16 aircraft battled flames that spread across nearly 10 square miles on the northern side of the rugged mountain range east of Los Angeles.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 11p (Winston), located approximately 302 nm south-southeast of Suva, Fiji, is tracking northeastward at 13 knots.

Tropical cyclone 13s (Uriah), located approximately 1090 nm east-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking west-southwestward at 08 knots.


Portugal – Flooding in northern Portugal has claimed life of a cyclist after being swept away by a river. River Vouga swept away the man whose body was recovered by firefighters from the northern town of Albergaria-a-Velha.


Wildfires – Arizona, USA

A raging fire broke out on Saturday in a wildlife refuge in northwestern Arizona near the California border, forcing the evacuation of about 150 homes.

Authorities ordered the mandatory evacuations from homes in the rural area after the wildfire sparked on Saturday afternoon grew to 2,000 acres in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. As of late Saturday, an undermined number of structures had been burned.

Wildfires – Portugal

Nearly 1,000 firefighters as well as six helicopters and three planes were deployed in Portugal Sunday to battle forest fires raging in the north and centre of the country, authorities said.

The worst fire scorched Vila Nova de Cerveira in the northern Minho region and was continuing to spread due to “difficult to access terrain, wind, high temperatures and the ongoing drought,” a fire service spokesman said, with 250 men battling the blaze.

Another major fire was raging at Miranda do Corvo, not far from the central city of Coimbra, with homes there also threatened.

Around 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the east at Covilha, two firemen were injured tackling another blaze which forced authorities to evacuate a camp site and a hostel before it was brought under control.

Nearly 80 percent of the country’s territory is considered to be in a severe drought, a situation that is likely to get worse in August, according to the Portuguese meteorological agency IPMA.


Wildfires – Spain and Portugal

More than 1,350 residents were evacuated in Spain’s northeastern region of Aragon as a wildfire spread through a pine forest amid a lingering heat wave, a local official said Sunday.

Five villages were evacuated as flames devoured hills that are 375 kilometers (230 miles) northeast of Madrid, said Javier Lamban, the president of Aragon. The evacuees, who included residents of a retirement home, were transferred to nearby towns.

About 500 firefighters and almost 100 pieces of equipment, including aircraft, were fighting the flames Sunday, which were being fanned by windy conditions and were creating a large plume of smoke.

The fire, which broke out Saturday afternoon, has already burned close to 8,000 hectares (19,770 acres) of forest in a remote area, according to Ministry of Agriculture and Environment spokesman Modesto Lobon.

Also, the fire department in the northeastern region of Catalonia said it was combating a wildfire that had broken out in Cardedeu, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Barcelona, and had destroyed two houses and several cars, although no one was injured.


Marburg virus disease – Uganda

On 11 November 2014, the Government of Uganda declared that Uganda was free of the Marburg virus. This declaration was made at the National Media Centre by the Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi.

On 4 October 2014, WHO was notified by the Government of Uganda of a case of Marburg virus disease. The case was a male health professional that developed symptoms on 11 September. On 17 September, the patient was admitted to a district health facility in Mpigi. He was later transferred to a hospital in Kampala. On 28 September, the case passed away and was buried on 30 September in Kasese district.

Legionnaires’ disease – Portugal

On 9 November 2014, WHO was notified by the National IHR Focal Point for Portugal of a large outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Vila Franca de Xira, a suburban area of Lisbon.

The first 17 cases were identified between 6 and 7 November. Since then, the number of cases has increased exponentially. On 12 November, the Directorate-General for Health of Portugal reported a total of 302 cases of Legionnaires’ disease. So far, 5 deaths have been confirmed to be caused by the disease. Four more deaths are currently being investigated. All cases have epidemiological links to the outbreak taking place in Vila Franca de Xira.


Portugal: Legionnaire’s disease outbreak

An outbreak of the bacterial infection, Legionnaire’s disease, has sickened more than a hundred (120) and killed four people in the central Portuguese region of Vila Franca de Xira, a municipality in the Lisbon District.

Many of the cases are being treated in Lisbon.

The Portuguese authorities are seeking out the source of the outbreak. Samples have been taken from the area’s drinking water supply and disinfection of water tanks has been ordered. The Secretary of State for Health has warned the population to avoid taking showers or using Jacuzzis or hot-tubs until the source of the infection has been identified.

Legionnaires’ disease gained national notoriety in 1976 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered it during an epidemic of pneumonia among American legion members at a convention in Philadelphia.


Portugal burns as wildfires rage

Wildfires are continuing to affect Portugal with at least eleven still active in northern and central areas of the country. More than 1,000 firefighters and 250 vehicles are tackling the flames. Around 12.00 local some 500 firefighters are on site trying to tackle the blazes at Serra do Caramulo, with two active fronts, backed by 139 vehicles and five water-dropping aircrafts. Six villages are surrounded by fire. Some of the villagers lost their houses, corrals and cattle. One more female firefighter, 21, died today in the fire at Serra do Caramulo, while two others are seriously wounded and four are reported missing.

In some areas, strong winds are feeding the flames of the forest fires.

The French government is allowing two planes to stay in Portugal until September 3 to aid the relief effort.


Wildfires in California. USA

More than 3,500 firefighters are still battling a raging wildfire in California’s Yosemite National Park, which has rained ash on the reservoir that is the chief source of water to San Francisco.

Wildfires rage in Spain and Portugal.

Firefighters and local residents struggled on Tuesday to tackle raging wildfires amid hot weather and strong night-time winds that have consumed large swathes of forest in Portugal and Spain and cost the lives of four emergency workers.


Wildfires in Portugal

One firefighter dead, 6 hurt in wildfire in a remote and hilly region in Portugal. Information was not immediately available about what happened to the firefighters sent on Thursday to put out a fire in the municipality of Tondela, in north central Portugal.

Numerous fires have broken out in three regions of north central and northern Portugal in recent days, and 700 firefighters are battling the blazes.

Significant Wildfires Burning in the Western US

Fifty large wildfires burned un-contained Thursday in the U.S.

Notable fires, with location, containment, size, fuel, personnel and cost to date:

—Rim, Stanislaus National Forest, Calif.; 2 percent contained, 84 square miles, timber and brush, 1,356 personnel, $2.8 million.

—Lolo Creek Complex, outside Lolo, Mont.; 0 percent contained, 14.8 square miles, timber and grass, 508 personnel, $805,000.

—Government Flat Complex, outside The Dalles, Ore.; 15 percent contained, 17 square miles, timber and grass, 853 personnel, $4.6 million.

—Beaver Creek , outside Sun Valley, Idaho; 47 percent contained, 172 square miles, timber and brush, 1,721 personnel, $16.6 million.

—American, Tahoe National Forest, Calif.; 60 percent contained, 26 square miles, timber, 1,866 personnel, $14.5 million.

—Eagle, Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest, Wash.; 10 percent contained, 1.2 square miles, 596 personnel, $1 million.

—Spring Peak, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Nev.; 68 percent contained, 22 square miles, pinyon pine, juniper and brush; 270 personnel, $1 million.

—Mississippi, outside Delta; containment not available, 105 square miles, timber brush and grass; 335 personnel, $4.4 million.