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Wildfires spread from southern Georgia’s Okefenokee National wildlife refuge into Florida forcing evacuations of 100,000+ people and burning 400,000 acres. Visible from space it looks like a volcanic eruption.
Wildfires started within the last week are threatening homes across California, sending more than 80,000 residents fleeing under mandatory evacuation orders and warnings. Several blazes are nowhere close to being contained. At least one person has died.
With California coping with the fifth year of the worst drought in over a century, the dying trees and dry underbrush have turned the state into a tinderbox. Firefighters are battling several massive blazes throughout the Golden State. The wildfires have caused millions of dollars of damage so far, and destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings.
— Cal OES (@Cal_OES) August 17, 2016
The Blue Cut Fire near Devore in San Bernardino County began in the late morning hours on Tuesday. Within an hour, it had spread to 1,000 acres; by Wednesday afternoon, the inferno had engulfed 65,000 acres with 0 percent containment.
A wildfire in Santa Barbara County that’s threatening homes and closing major highways more than doubled in size overnight to 4,000 acres, federal officials said early Friday.
Chewing through vegetation that hasn’t burned since the 1950s and pushed by 40 mph winds, the Sherpa fire crawled toward Highway 101 between El Capitan State Beach and Gaviota, forcing the California Highway Patrol to shut down the coastal route overnight.
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The gigantic wildfire that has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta has been nicknamed “the Beast“, and mainstream news reports are telling us that it is now approximately 25 percent larger than New York City. 88,000 people have already been forced out of their homes, at least 1,600 buildings have been destroyed, and smoke from the fire has been spotted as far away as Iowa. To say that this is a “disaster” is a massive understatement. Northern Alberta is “tinder dry” right now, and authorities say that high winds could result in the size of the fire doubling by the end of the weekend. One-fourth of Canada’s oil output has already been shut down, and the edge of the fire is now getting very close to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. This is already the most expensive natural disaster in the history of Canada, and officials fully expect to be fighting this blaze for months to come.
Since we first reported on the massive fire (and the fallout) that was burning in Canada’s oil sands gateway, Fort McMurray, things have gone from bad to worse. Today we learn that the fire that has already devastated 600 square miles, growing an additional 50% in less than 24 hours, is out of control, and could double in size by the end of the day.
As of late Saturday night, the fire had grown to 156,000 hectares and was heading toward the Saskatchewan border. Officials said winds up to 40 kilometres an hour will blow Saturday and warm temperatures mean it could add another 100,000 hectares to the fire by the end of the day. “We need heavy rain,” said Chad Morrison, senior wildfire manager, giving an update with Notley at noon Saturday according to the EdJournal.
The fire burning in the middle of Canada’s oil sands, which as reported earlier has led to the evacuation of over 80,000 local residents, has resulted in is set to trim oil output by about 500kbp for about 10 days, has been described as “apocalyptic.” The following dash cam videos which have captured the reality for some 80,000 local residents demonstrate why.
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Now that Canada has had a chance to evaluate the damage from the historic Alberta fire, the question on everyone’s lips is what will be the near-term impact on oil production. The most comprehensive answer provided so far comes from Morgan Stanley’s Benny Wong who estimates that the total number of offline capacity will be anywhere between 400 and 500 mbbl/d, with the shut-in expected to last about 10 days, potentially reducing total market output by as much as 5 million barrels.
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– California’s Wildfires Are Now The Same Size As Six Manhattans (Vocativ, Aug 4, 2015):
Wildfires have destroyed or damaged 137,000 acres of Californian land this year, about the same size as six Manhattans, 4.5 San Franciscos, three Washington D.C.s or 1.5 Philadelphias. That’s nearly three times California’s five-year average of 48,153 acres to August 1, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
– Australia bushfires: New South Wales declares state of emergency (BBC News, Oct 20, 2013):
The fires have already destroyed at least 200 homes, as Jon Donnison reports
A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales as Australian firefighters battle bushfires that have already destroyed more than 200 homes.
The announcement comes as conditions look set to deteriorate with soaring temperatures and strong winds expected to fan the flames in the coming days.
The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, has been the worst-hit region with some fires still raging out of control.
State officials say they are the most dangerous conditions in 40 years.
– Southern California fire burns 1,000 acres; thousands flee (CNN, May 28, 2103):
Crews in Southern California struggled to get the upper hand on a fast-moving wildfire in Santa Barbara County early Tuesday.
Known as the White Fire, the blaze had already charred some 1,000 acres after getting its start Monday afternoon, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Andrew Madsen said. The flames were 5% contained.
This undated handout picture provided by New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW Rural Fire Service) on January 8, 2013 shows a NSW Rural Fire Service worker spraying water on a bush fire at Green Point in New South Wales. (AFP Photo/ NSW Rural Fire Service)
– ‘Catastrophic’: Hundreds of wildfires rage in Australia amid record heat wave (VIDEO, PHOTOS) (RT, Jan 8, 2013):
A heat wave that has already caused devastating fires on the Island state of Tasmania, with 100 people still missing, has now moved to mainland Australia and is reaping havoc in New South Wales, as the heat wave looks to smash records.
In some areas temperatures have shot up by as much as 20C in three hours and combined with 50 mph winds have created disastrous fire conditions.
Right across Australia records have been broken by the heat wave and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has been forced to add colors to its forecast charts to take account of temperatures of 50-54 degrees Celsius.
Australia’s all-time record of 50.7 degrees; set in January 1960 at Oodnadatta in South Australia is likely to be smashed over the coming days. On Tuesday, in some places temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius were recorded.
“The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau’s model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees,” David Jones , the BoM’s head of climate monitoring, told Fairfax newspapers.
– Fast-moving fire takes properties in central Victoria as NSW battles 135 blazes (AAP, Jan 8, 2013):
DOZENS of homes remained under threat late today as NSW firefighters battled 135 blazes in 40-plus temperatures and often “catastrophic” conditions, and a fast-moving fire in central Victoria has destroyed at least two properties.
Fuelled by soaring temperatures and powerful winds, the worst fires were in the south of NSW near Cooma, Nowra, Bega and Wagga Wagga.
– Wildfires Hit Australia Amid Worst Heatwave in Decade (Bloomberg, Jan 4, 2012):
Wildfires are sweeping through parts of rural Australia as the biggest heatwave since 2001 spreads across the nation bringing near-record temperatures.
State-wide fire bans are in force in the southern island state of Tasmania and in Victoria, while emergency services issued bushfire alerts across South Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology said the heatwave was moving east across the continent, bringing temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
– New fire forces evacuations in Northern Calif. (AP, Aug 19, 2012):
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thousands of people have been told to leave their homes as a wildfire burning Sunday in thick forest threatened rural communities in far Northern California.
The fire that sparked around 11:30 a.m. Saturday has destroyed four homes and consumed nearly 11 square miles near the towns of Manton, Shingleton, and Viola, fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. About 3,500 homes spread out across a rural area along the border of Tehama and Shasta counties are threatened, he said.
– Dead Crops, Extreme Drought And Endless Wildfires Are Now The New Normal In America (Economic Collapse, Aug 5, 2012):
As you read this, the United States is experiencing the worst drought it has seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. As you read this, nearly half of all corn crops in the United States are in “poor” or “very poor” condition. As you read this, 38 major wildfires are ripping across the central and western United States. The brutal wildfires in Oklahoma have been so bad that they have made national headlines. The price of corn has hit a brand new record high this summer and so has the price of soybeans. More than half of all the counties in this country have been declared to be “natural disaster areas” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at this point. Things are so bad for ranchers that the CEO of Smithfield Foods is projecting that meat prices will rise by “significant double digits” in the months ahead. Sadly, this drought is projected to continue throughout August and into September. As you will read about below, some meteorologists are even openly postulating that there may not be enough moisture to avoid another drought next year. Yes, things are really bad this year, but when you step back and take a look at the broader picture they become truly frightening.According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 31st close to two-thirds of the continental United States was experiencing at least some level of drought….
Keep in mind that brown is “severe drought”, red is “extreme drought” and dark brown in “exceptional drought”.
This is truly a historic drought. We have never seen anything like this in modern times in the United States.
The week before, this is how the U.S. Drought Monitor described conditions in the center of the country….
“Over 90 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with virtually all (99 percent) short or very short in Missouri and Illinois”
There had been some hope that rain would bring relief to farmers in the central part of the country, but instead things just keep getting worse and worse.
An image from the most recent issue of Inspire magazine, which is reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Several articles in the magazine advocate the use of wildfires as a terrorist tactic.
– Homeland Security Warns of Terrorist Wildfire Attacks (Public Intelligence, June 2, 2012):
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and fusion centers around the country are warning that terrorists are interested in using fire as a weapon, particularly in the form of large-scale wildfires near densely populated areas. A newly released DHS report states that for more than a decade “international terrorist groups and associated individuals have expressed interest in using fire as a tactic against the Homeland to cause economic loss, fear, resource depletion, and humanitarian hardship.” The report notes that the tactical use of fire as a weapon is “inexpensive and requires limited technical expertise” and “materials needed to use fire as a weapon are common and easily obtainable, making preoperational activities difficult to detect and plot disruption and apprehension challenging for law enforcement.”