Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

The area of wildfires in the Irkutsk Region has increased in the last 24 hours to over 650,000 hectares, the regional department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said on Tuesday. Compared to the previous day, seven new wildfires have been recorded, and the territory under flames has expanded by 37,370 hectares.

Russian prosecutors said on Tuesday that some of the vast Siberian wildfires that environmentalists have dubbed a climate emergency were started on purpose by arsonists trying to conceal illegal logging activity.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

The Russian Defense Ministry’s planes and helicopters have extinguished wildfires in Siberia raging across 690,000 hectares since the beginning of the effort.

Since the operation started, the Defense Ministry’s air task force has poured 5,490 tonnes of water on the blazing forest. The Il-76 planes and Mi-8 helicopters carried out 90 and 143 flights, respectively, to extinguish fires. A total of 170,000 hectares of burning forest were put out on Sunday.

Wildfires – Hawaii

Hawaii’s governor on Friday declared an emergency on the island of Maui, where firefighters were battling a blaze that forced the evacuations of thousands of people and sent huge clouds of smoke billowing over nearby beaches. Although most of the evacuees were later allowed to return home, the blaze more than tripled in size to spread over about 3,642 hectares, scorching mostly former sugar cane fields and brush.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has called in the army to fight the forest fires that have been raging across vast expanses of Siberia for days, enveloping entire cities in black smoke.

Environmentalists have warned that the scale of the blazes could accelerate global warming, aside from any immediate effects on the health of inhabitants.

About 3m hectares (7.4m acres) of land in the centre and east of the country were on fire on Wednesday, the authorities said.

The acrid smoke has affected small settlements as well as cities in Western Siberia and the Altai region, and also the Urals such as Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg. Air travel has also been disrupted.

Approximately 2,700 firefighters were tackling the fires. The defence ministry told news organisations that 10 planes and 10 helicopters had been dispatched to the Krasnoyarsk region, one of the worst affected.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Massive wildfires sweeping through Russia have spread to an area the size of annexed Crimea as regional authorities have been slow to declare emergencies and firefighting efforts have been scaled back.

Scientists have observed an “unprecedented” number of wildfires in Siberia and the Russian Arctic since June. Russian authorities have said a combination of lightning and human activity may have sparked the flames.

More than 2.7 million hectares of remote forest is currently burning across six Siberian and Far East regions, according to Russia’s Federal Forestry Agency, an area roughly equal to the size of Crimea.

Regional emergency authorities have opted against extinguishing the more than 300 forest fires that are engulfing hard-to-reach areas, saying inhabited areas are “not under threat” and “projected extinguishing costs exceed their projected harm.”

It’s “pointless and at times even harmful” to try to extinguish the flames, Krasnoyarsk region governor Alexander Uss was quoted as saying by the Vedomosti business daily. Speaking at a youth forum on Sunday, Uss compared the wildfires to a summertime equivalent of winter blizzards.

More than 11 million hectares have been affected this wildfire season, Greenpeace Russia said in a statement Friday, calling on the authorities to step up firefighting efforts in the affected areas.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Nearly 170,000 hectares of forestland is burning in the Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Yakutia, Yamal, and Buryatia regions. The hygienic standard in the air exceeds the norm by 1.2 to 2.3 times.

More than 2,000 people and 303 units of equipment are involved in extinguishing the existing 171 fires. Thirty-five wildfires were extinguished over an area of 17,600 hectares in the last 24 hours.

The regional government of Krasnoyarsk, where most of the blazes are, blamed lightning for starting most of the fires. Residents in Krasnoyarsk have been told to go outdoors only out of necessity.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Barbara is located about 1255 mi…2020 km wsw of the southern tip of Baja California and about 1925 mi…3095 km e of Hilo Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…145 mph…230 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 295 degrees at 10 mph…17 km/h.

NewsBytes:

India – Heavy monsoon rains are causing wall collapses that have killed 27 people in western India even as bad weather continues to disrupt road, rail and air traffic in the financial capital Mumbai, prompting officials to shut schools and offices.

Siberia – At least 18 people have died and more than a dozen are still missing in the devastating floods that swept southeastern Siberia, Russian authorities said Tuesday. The floods that followed torrential rains affected 55 towns and villages in the Irkutsk region. Over 4,000 houses have been flooded, according to the Emergency Ministry. Officials said that 1,258 people have sought medical assistance and 191 of them have been hospitalized.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm Barbara is located about 895 mi…1445 km ssw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…65 mph…100 km/h. Present movement…w or 275 degrees at 21 mph…33 km/h.

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 04w (Four), located approximately 395 nm northeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking northwestward at 23 knots.

NewsBytes:

Siberia – Five people were killed in the Siberian region hit by strong rains, two are missing, nearly 400 were injured with 97 were admitted to local hospitals. Thirty two children were among the injured. The worst floods in the recorded history in Irkutsk region totally wiped out more than 1,200 houses, sweeping away dams and roads. Both the Angara River – the region’s main waterway – and Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world with 20 per cent of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater, had burst their banks, said reports. Some 50 villages of the shore of Baikal are reported ‘inaccessible’, while to the north the city of Bratsk is badly affected. Officials say over 4,000 blocks of flats and private homes were so badly flooded that they will have to be rebuilt. Almost 10,000 people lost their properties and are currently unsheltered as a major operations flies in relief supplies. Some 27,000 people have no electricity due to power line collapses of a switch-off as a preventive measure. St least 15 bridges were destroyed and the key roads connecting Siberia and Western Russia are closed. In some areas residents were forcibly evacuated against their will because they did not believe dire warnings of the scale of flooding.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression Alvin is located about 665 mi…1075 km wsw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…30 mph…45 km/h. Pesent movement…wnw or 290 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 04w (Four), located approximately 417 nm north- northwest of Kayangel, is tracking west-northwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Moscow, Russia – Heavy rains flooded the roads around Moscow’s largest airport Sheremetyevo on Friday, with the floods reaching knee-high depths and blocking cars from bringing passengers to and from its terminals.

Siberia, Russia – Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the flood-hit Siberian city of Tulun as torrential rains in Russia’s Irkutsk region have killed at least two people. A day earlier, officials said that two people died in Siberia during floods caused by heavy rains and that a state of emergency had been declared. Nearly 2,800 residences, 16 roads, and 13 bridges in 27 settlements were affected by the floods.

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Gambia – On 19th June 2019, a windstorm surge hit through five (5) regions in the Upper River Region (URR) of the Gambia, namely; Jimara, Tumanna, Wuli East, Wuli West and Sandu districts as well as two districts of Central River Region (CRR) namely Upper Fulado East, Upper Fulado West and Niani, of Gambia, affecting 67 communities. The winds storm surge affected over 900 families (8,100 pax) and caused internal displacement, injuries and 4 deaths (3 in URR and 1 in CRR). The report indicates that some four (4) people have been confirmed dead as a result of the falling walls of buildings and flying iron sheets, 101 people have been injured, and over 900 houses have been damaged or destroyed – totally destroyed (500), partially destroyed (450).

Wildfires

Wildfires – Russia

As the world watches wildfires tear through the Canadian countryside, a blaze more than twice the size rages on the other side of the world.

According to an exclusive analysis of satellite data, the seasonal forest fires in eastern Russia currently cover more than a million hectares of land — making it twice as big as the roughly 500,000-hectare blaze burning in the heart of Alberta oil country.

Reports from the Russian government have dramatically underplayed the scale of the abnormally severe Siberian wildfire, with officials claiming it is less than one tenth of its true size.

A report undertaken by Greenpeace suggests that at least 2 million hectares of forests were destroyed in Siberia last year due to “prescribed” burns getting out of control. Russian authorities have denied this.

Wildfires

Wildfires – South Sudan

A bush fire fanned by gusty winds has gutted four villages in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal region, killing 33 people, with the toll likely to rise. 60 other people were in a critical condition after the fire on Sunday. The fire had also destroyed 138 houses in the villages in Korok East County and killed 10,000 cattle.

Wildfires – Siberia

Devastating wildfires are still raging in southeast Siberia, Russia. Two weeks ago they became a catastrophe in Zabaikalsky krai. A state of emergency was announced: fire had reached 17 settlements, destroyed about 100 houses and devastated more than 200 backyards and farm buildings. Over 600 people had lost their possessions while 34 people had suffered burns. About 12,000 farm animals were lost, with one person dying of fatal burns while trying to save cattle.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Norway

Hundreds of people have had to leave their homes in Norway as emergency services try to extinguish forest fires raging in the south of the country. Some 148 homes were evacuated around the town of Sokndal, where fires have been burning since Tuesday.

Police say the fires are still out of control and warn that heavy winds could help them to spread. This month alone, wildfires have broken out in Sweden, Germany and the UK. April is very early for forest fires in Norway, and experts have warned of a dramatic increase across the continent.

Wildfires – Siberia

Wildfires tore through nearly 20 towns in the grasslands of southeastern Siberia between April 19-22. The fires injured at least 34 people, four of them critically, and left at least 645 people homeless in Zabaikalsky region. Some 11,800 livestock – including at least 1,277 cattle plus 489 horses – were destroyed, many of them roasted alive or killed after suffering terrible burns, according to various reports. Around 10,000 sheep are feared to have been lost. Some 120 pigs and 1,800 farm birds were burned in the wildfires.

In two cases, the wildfires truly came from China and Mongolia, The causes of two more fires were burning landfills. Two fires started because of breaks in power lines and the subsequent short circuits. In one settlement, residents threw smouldering ash from the furnace (igniting a fire).

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Large wildfires that have been burning in grasslands (steppe) in southern Siberia for about a week. A State of Emergency has been declared in the Transbaikal region where about 1,200 personnel are battling the blazes. The province of Khabarovsk is also affected. Satellite images show the extent of the blazes.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Massive steppe wildfires, propelled by strong winds, have destroyed more than a hundred houses in the Siberian region of Trans-Baikal, leaving hundreds of local residents homeless. More than 400 people were affected by the wildfires that got out of control in the remote Russian region on the Mongolian border. At least, 111 houses in 15 villages were lost in the disaster, the governor’s office said. The people evacuated in time and there have been no fatalities related to the fires.

Wildfires – Mexico

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An image from NASA Earth Observatory shows a large wildfire burning in a forest located west of Cienega de Escobar in Durango, Mexico. According to news reports, the fire is one of 95 wildfires burning in 18 Mexican states.

Wildfires – Scotland

A series of wildfires took hold on the north side of the Isle of Bute. The fire service said a large area of moorland and forestry were affected.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

UAE – Up to 570 people were rescued after spending overnight in rain-soaked mountains that triggered flash floods in Ras Al Khaimah on Sunday, according to RAK police. It was second day of unstable weather that brought a rush of surface runoff from the emirate’s majestic peaks, causing fast-flowing torrents in wadis, and inundating houses and vehicles in some low-lying areas.

Siberia, Russia – Synchronised explosions are used to unblock the Amur River, a major waterway in the Russian Far East to protect villagers from flooding. Such explosions are common at this time of year – but not always as aesthetic. Carried out by the Russian Emergencies Ministry, the aim is to prevent walls of ice behind which the river level rises, posing a threat to remote settlements.

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Environment

Black Snow Is Falling from the Skies in Siberia

A pall of eerie black snow has covered several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass, which is home to 2.6 million people and one of the world’s largest coal fields.

According to the Guardian and the Siberian Times, the snow is tainted with toxic black coal dust that was released into the air from open coal pits and improperly maintained factories in the region. One coal plant official told the local media that a shield meant to prevent coal powder from escaping out of the factory had malfunctioned — however, toxic black snowfall seems to be a regular phenomena in the area and it isn’t necessarily tied to a single source.

Kuzbass (short for Kuznetsk Basin) is one of the largest coalfields in the world, spanning more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers). A 2015 report from Ecodefense found that the citizens of Kuzbass have an average life expectancy 3 to 4 years shorter than the Russian national average and have nearly twice the risk of contracting tuberculosis and childhood mental disorders.

Black snows like this one are a frequent winter feature in the region, the report found, and mitigation attempts have been… lacking. For instance, in December 2018, regional authorities were accused of trying to hide the toxic black stuff by literally painting over it with white pigment.