Wildfires

Wildfires – Portugal and Spain

Three people have been killed in Portugal as the country is hit by a record number of forest fires, and three more have died in Spain where blazes sparked by arsonists have been fanned by strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia.

In total, about 440 fires were burning across Portugal on Sunday, which is “the worst day since the beginning of the year”, according to a spokesperson for the national civil protection agency.

In addition to the three dead, about 25 people had been injured, with thousands of firefighters deployed and three motorways, including one linking Lisbon and Porto, closed.

Wildfires – California

The wildfires that erupted last weekend have killed at least 40 people and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and other structures. As of Sunday, roughly 75,000 people were under evacuation orders, down from nearly 100,000 the day before. In all, 17 large fires are still burned across the northern part of the state, with more than 10,000 firefighters attacking the flames using air tankers, helicopters and more than 1,000 fire engines.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Spain

A wildfire ripped through a forest in the northwest of Spain with the flames advancing through dry bushes. Emergency services have tirelessly battered the fire with 22 fire brigades, 12 helicopters and four aeroplanes are working on fire control. Local media claims over 110 members of the armed forces have also been deployed to try to stop the fire. Last-minute estimates suggest the fire affects more than 1,200 hectares, including a large extension of pine trees as it remains active, nearly 24 hours after it started.

Wildfires – Italy

A heatwave that has left Italy sweltering in record temperatures sparked wildfires on Thursday which claimed the life of one elderly woman and forced the closure of a major highway. A section of the Via Aurelia coastal motorway that runs northwards from Rome to the Riviera had to be closed for several hours because of a major fire near Grosseto in Tuscany.

Wildfires – Greece

Three firefighters have been hurt battling a large brush fire south of the Greek capital, Athens. Authorities have ordered the evacuation of dozens of homes in two communities in Lagonissi, a coastal area 30 kilometers from Athens, after several homes and cars were destroyed in the fire. Dozens of firefighters and fire engines are taking part in the operation. Winds up to 60 kilometers per hour were hampering the firefighting effort, while temperatures in the area reached 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).

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Wildfires – Albania

In Albania about 300 firefighters and military personnel are working to keep under control about 25 wildfires that have broken out in the last 24 hours. About 20 of the fires are threatening residential areas in the capital, Tirana, as well as in the cities of Vlora, Dibar, Elbasan and Berat, where vast areas of forest are burning.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Depression Four is located about 835 mi…1340 km E of the Lesser Antilles with maximum sustained winds…30 mph…45 km/h, Present movement…WNW or 285 degrees at 22 mph…35 km/h.

NewsBytes:

Spain – A married couple and two of their children died Thursday while they were exploring a canyon in the Valle del Jerte in Spain. A third child is injured and in stable condition. Authorities said flooding caused the river’s water to overflow and swept the family, who were canyoneering, above it in an area called Cabezuela del Valle.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Spain – Southeast Spain saw a record amount of rain on Monday, causing riverbeds to overflow and roads to flood as the region faced its worst floods in 20 years. Half of the average annual rainfall fell in Alicante in just one day as more than 150litres of water per square metre hit the area. At least one man had to be rescued from his vehicle after it became submerged in floodwaters when it was swept away into the Serpis River. Schools across the province shut down for the day as Spain’s weather agency said the stormy weather was expected to continue through Tuesday.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the South Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone 02s Two), located approximately 480 nm north of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking northeastward at 10 knots.

Newsbytes:

Vietnam -= At least 24 people died in central Vietnam due to further flooding caused by torrential rainfall. The highest number of fatalities has been reported from Coastal Binh Dinh province where 16 people have been killed. More rains are expected.

Spain – Provinces in southern Spain anticipated heavy rainfall for a third day on Monday after torrential downpours left roads and buildings flooded in several towns. According to local media, a 40-year-old man drowned on Monday morning in a small town in the southern region of Murcia after flood waters swept him away into a swimming pool.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Spain – Rain and strong winds continue to beset the Costa Blanca and has caused widespread chaos and destruction in addition to the previously reported deaths of two individuals. With reports of heavy flooding across most of the region, emergency services have been busy to ensure the safety of residents and have closed roads where they consider that the flooding is too dangerous to allow traffic to pass.

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Philippines – A farmer was killed while at least 1,600 families were affected on Saturday when floods hit 11 villages in eastern Samar following incessant rains. The weather bureau had reported that the downpour in the province dumped 300 mm of rain, which was equivalent to half a month of rain in December but was delivered in one day, resulting to heavy flooding.

Fiji – Residents of Korovou Town in Tailevu have been stranded due to heavy flooding. The area, has been without electricity since yesterday.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Spain – One woman, 26, was found dead in the town of Estepona on Spain’s Costa del Sol after rains swept through. Police say it is the worst rainfall in nearly 30 years, not recording such a high level since 1989. Drivers have had to abandon their cars and dogs had to be rescued from a refuge centre in Malaga. A red weather warning was initially issued, which has been downgraded to an orange, but rain continues.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the North Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 04b (Four), located approximately 822 nm south-southwest of Calcutta, India, is tracking northwestward at 12 knots.

Newsbytes:

Spain – A woman was swept away during flash floods in a village 45 kilometres from the Catalan capital of Barcelona in Spain after her GPS device sent her driving across a riverbed through the village of Sant Llorenç d’Hortons.

Turkey – Unprecedented rainfall in some western towns led to small-scale floods on Monday and Tuesday while snowfall is forecast for central and northwestern Turkey on Wednesday. Balıkesir province was among the hardest-hit by flooding. A night of rainfall triggered floods in the town of Gömeç, where a bridge collapsed and flocks of sheep drowned; no other casualties were reported. Rivers breaching their banks threatened residences and shops in the small town. Ayvalık, a popular seaside town in the province, was also heavily inundated after downpours that started on Sunday increased in intensity late Monday. Schools in the town were closed Tuesday as rainfall accompanied with strong winds damaged buildings, felled trees and blocked access to several streets. Some residents were trapped in their houses for hours, long after downpours hit early Tuesday.

Canada – Crews in Thunder Bay, Ont., have remained busy as approximately 80 millimetres of rain fell across the city since Monday morning flooding parts of the city.

Saudi Arabia – At least seven people died and many others were injured or trapped by heavy rain and floods that swept various regions of the Kingdom, press reports said on Tuesday. The dead included three young Saudi men in Bisha, two others in Baha and two expatriates who were struck by a thunderbolt in Qunfudah. Torrential floods also destroyed a number of houses, blocked roads and overturned vehicles. The rain and floods in the last few days uncovered the ineffective drainage systems in many parts of the country. The rain inundated various parts of Qunfudah governorate and washed away large sections of the International Road linking Jeddah and Jazan.

Wildlife

Kruger Park in South Africa begins Controversial Drought Culling

Using the current drought across South Africa as a convenient pretext, the authorities running the Kruger Park have started culling substantial numbers of large herbivores ostensibly to relieve pressure on available resources, but apparently to supply meat to surrounding communities opportunistically protesting to claim Kruger Park land as their ancestral right and to free up water resources for such communities.

Blaming Hippo poo, they have started seriously reducing the 7 500 hippos in the Park.

To fulfil government commitments to feeding schemes for surrounding communities, thousands of buffalo have been “harvested”. Again a pretext is used to justify the rape and plunder of South Africa’s natural assets: There is no ‘natural attrition’ from human beings. Park officials claim that before Europeans arrived and declared a park, there were around 15 000 hunter-gatherers using it as their shopping mall! Yet historically there are no records of 15 000 people in the area.

Under “European” management the Kruger Park was established and thrived. Under “Post-Colonial” management, the Park has become a political pawn to satisfy the greed of often corrupt officials who have no thought or concern for the wildlife they are supposed to protect.

What is of particular concern is that the very officials responsible for the present culling are planning to use the present situation as a precedent for future “harvesting”, having already given notice that similar actions will be taken in the future.

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Spanish wetlands and wildlife sanctuary under threat

Donana National Park, part of southern Spanish wetland used by 6 million migratory birds, could dry out completely unless the Spanish government tackles the threat of dredging, mining and intensive farming, a report said on Thursday.

The World Wildlife Fund said Spain was failing to safeguard the 54,000 hectare (209 square mile) site, which stretches along the Guadalquivir River at its estuary on the Atlantic Ocean in Andalusia.

“The Donana wetland is at a crossroads. Poor management and over-extraction of water are causing Donana to dry out and the area now receives only 20 percent of its natural water input,” WWF said in the report.

The group called on Spain to eliminate what it said are 1,000 illegal wells and 3,000 hectares of illegal farming fields, and cancel dredging of the Guadalquivir River to protect and recover the park’s water sources.

Wildfires

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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Spain

More than 2,000 people including many British citizens had to flee their homes after “suspicious fires” were sparked in a holiday hotspot near Benidorm.

The blazes – reported to have been started by teen arsonists – erupted in Javea, south of Valencia, where half of the 30,000 population were born outside Spain. Dozens of homes have been completely destroyed in the blaze. Homes in nearby Benitatxell, Tossalet and Cansalade were also evacuated as a precaution by emergency crews. According to local sources, a group of 15-year-old youths have been arrested over the fires.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Catalonia, Spain

The heat wave which is lashing Catalonia this week has forced the Catalan Government to set the alert level for forest fires at its maximum. In particular 30 regions have been warned of high risk of wildfires and 17 municipalities have totally restricted those activities which may increase this risk. The worst episode so far was on Tueday, since 86 wild fires hit different regions of Catalonia simultaneously. However, the most important one occurred this Tuesday in Vallbona de les Monges, a small village 40 kilometres west from the city of Lleida. In less than 5 hours, the fire burned nearly 900 hectares, most of them cereal crops. The firefighters sent 55 land resources and 3 aerial’s, which achieved to stabilise the fire by Wednesday morning. However, they continue to water the perimeter to prevent the fire from reviving.

Wildfires – Russia

A huge wildfire, raging in Russia’s far eastern Yakutia region for the past three weeks, has been extinguished, a forest official said on Wednesday.

The wildfire, covering an area of more than 3,000 hectares of woods, was raging in the Lena Pillars Nature Park, a world natural heritage site, since June 28.

Yakutia has so far this year witnessed 109 wildfires, destroying 8,000 hectares of woods.

The area of wildfires in Russia has decreased by seven percent over the weekend, from 15,400 to around 14,400 hectares

Wildfires

Wildfires – Colorado, USA

Several wildfires in Colorado, totaling more than 35,000 acres burned, remain active as firefighters work to control and extinguish the blazes.

The biggest blaze, the Beaver Creek fire, has burned 20,981 acres in northern Colorado along the Wyoming state line about 24 miles north of Walden, according to state and federal fire officials.

The Hayden Pass fire continues to burn in the Colorado mountains about 20 miles southeast of Salida. It has scorched 14,788 acres and remains active.

The Cold Springs fire is burning in Boulder County about 2 miles northeast of Nederland. It started Saturday on private property, has burned more than 528 acres and is 100 percent contained. At least eight homes have been torched, and about 1,000 residents were forced to evacuate.

Wildfires – France and Spain

In the south of France, 3,000 holidaymakers in Torreilles were evacuated on Wednesday after strong winds whipped up a wildfire and more than 20 bungalows were destroyed. The fire had been fully extinguished by Thursday morning.

In southern Spain, hundreds of residents and tourists were evacuated from the resort town of La Linea in the Costa del Sol on Tuesday.

Wildfires – Alaska, USA

Thousands of lightning strikes have sparked dozens of new wildfires across Interior Alaska over the last two days, the Alaska Division of Forestry reports.

Forestry officials say as many as 7,200 lightning strikes were reported in the region on Wednesday and another 11,000 as of 4 p.m. on Thursday. In the area around McGrath, as many as 30 new fires were reported over the course of today and yesterday, but many of those are burning in remote areas that do not require a firefighting response, DoF said.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

South, Southwest USA – Authorities say at least seven people were injured after severe storms spawned multiple tornado touchdowns in northeastern Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorms are moving across the lower Mississippi River Valley, bringing hail, damaging winds and the threat of some tornadoes. One injury has been reported after a suspected tornado hit the southeastern Arkansas town of Dermott. More thunderstorms are in the forecast Thursday in Arkansas, a day after heavy rainfall inundated streets and roads statewide and flooded a lecture hall in a Little Rock art museum. Forecasters have issued a flash flood watch covering much of Georgia through Friday evening as a system of severe storms moves across the South. The National Weather Service office in Jackson, Mississippi, says a possible tornado touched down Thursday morning in Lamar County. Heavy rain in the Mississippi Delta has caused widespread flooding and prompted some evacuations.

Spain – Severe floods have hit northern Spain as hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes on Wednesday. While much of central and southern Spain was enjoying the first of spring’s sunshine, the north of the country was being battered by intense storms that have caused serious flooding in several towns. The Galician region of A Coruña, in northwestern Spain, has experienced the worst floods in its history; hundreds of people have to be evacuated by boat from their homes on Wednesday.

Disease

Legionnaires disease outbreak in Spain

Two new patients suffering from the deadly Legionnaires disease are being treated at a Spanish hospital.

They are being treated at the Hospital de Manzanares near Madrid, and bring to 222 the number of people affected since the outbreak began this month.

Two people have died in the outbreak so far. Five patients remain in intensive care, with two in serious condition.