Wildfire in the Panhandle of Texas

Wildfires in the panhandle of Texas reached 750 square miles as of 2pm on March 16. This has caused at a minimum of $21 million in agricultural damages. According to economist Steve Amosson “damages last week included $6.1 million in lost pastureland; $6.1 million in lost or damaged fencing; $3.8 million in lost buildings; $4 million in livestock deaths; and $1 million for emergency hay and feed.” Among the victims of this fire include many livestock animals: 2,500 cows and 1,900 pigs. This is particularly unfortunate because cattle ranching is a large part of the economy in some parts of Texas. 
A state of emergency was declared in six Texas counties. One rancher in the area described how quickly it came; about two minutes after they spotted it approaching their ranch, it was there. According to an article, the fire was moving about 70mph. The same rancher heard that a young man was killed in a nearby community by the wildfire or its effects.  Texas is very dry and warm, making for great conditions for a wildfire. Looking at the pictures, it seems that this was a surface fire, because many of the trees in the photos are still standing, just scarred, while no grass in any of the photos remains. 

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/ranchers-survey-painful-losses-after-deadly-wildfires-n734641

Additional Resource: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Texas-Faces-at-Least-21-Million-in-Wildfire-Damages-416363683.html

Deadly flooding in Peru sparks criticism over climate change preparedness

Case:   

Unusually high temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are to blame for the latest flooding in Peru. It is some of the worst flooding in recent history. Killing and estimated 12 people, sweeping away vehicles and homes. This flooding comes after a serious drought and has completely caught the authorities by surprise. It has been raining the last three days, causing numerous rivers to burst their banks and subsequently causing mudslides. This is not the first such event this year, since January there have been 62 deaths, 11 missing and 12,000 destroyed homes. A local weather expert was interviewed and stated that these were highly unusual weather conditions and that the ocean was 5-6 degrees Celsius warmer than it would normally be. Peru was also ravaged by wildfires in November of last year, burning 12,000 hectares of land.

Analysis:

Because of global trends in rising temperatures there have been many documented cases where weather has been unpredictable or weather events were much stronger than they had been in the past. This was probably the reason for the wildfires in November as the warmer temperatures caused there to be dryer conditions and lead to a higher risk of fire, and these same warm temperatures then caused the storms to much more powerful as they draw their energy from warm water.

 

Conclusion:

Global warming is likely to blame for both these events as higher temperatures have caused more stronger, more unpredictable weather events. However, the Peruvian authorities should have been on higher alert following the wildfires, because as we discussed in class, wildfires are a chemical process, and these fires definitely contributed to the flooding. Either by burning away vegetation which held the soil together, or making the soil itself impermeable, leading to runoff and more mass wasting. The best thing they could have done was to raise awareness about the heightened risk, and have communities have plans ready following the wildfires, in case there would be mass wasting and heavy rains following the drought.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/peru-floods-ocean-climate-change

 

Michael Mumenthaler

Forest Fire In Gloucester County, New Jersey

On Thursday, March 9, a combined effort from the Clayton and Glassboro firefighters formed to assist the New Jersey Forest Fire Service in extinguishing a forest fire. Said forest fire broke out in the Glassboro Wildlife Management Area in a 30-mile area. Gloucester County and 9 others were facing gusty winds on Thursday and had previously placed under a wildfire alert, so the crews were prepared to jump into action. According to the Clayton Fire Company, crews had responded by 1 p.m. and the fire was extinguished by 7 p.m. Luckily the area contained a multitude of ponds and wetlands, which helped to contain the fire. No homes or people were endangered by the flames.

Forest Fire in Gloucester

Flames beginning to die down

Firefighting crews after extinguishing all of the fires

Photos: Clayton Fire Company NJ

http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2017/03/crews_battling_forest_fire_in_gloucester_county.html

http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2017/03/gloucester_county_forest_fire_cause_probed.html

Wildfires burn more than 1 million acres, taking 7 lives

Story highlights

  • By Tuesday, more than 1 million acres had burned
  • Residents evacuated in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado

(CNN) Wildfires across the country had consumed more than 1 million acres by Tuesday night, taking at least 7 lives.

The Oklahoma Forestry Service told CNN the fires burned 400,000 acres, and prompted Gov. Mary Fallin to declare a state of emergency for 22 counties.
Officials in four other states said that 400,000 acres were destroyed in Kansas, 325,000 in the Texas Panhandle and 30,000 in Colorado — not to mention the 6,000 acres burning in the Florida swamps near Naples that resulted in mandatory evacuations.

5 fire-related deaths in Texas

Three ranchers trying to save their cattle died in a wildfire in Gray County, Texas, according to Sandi Martin, coordinator with Gray County Emergency Management.
The three were among five people killed by wildfires in the Texas Panhandle as fires continue to scorch swaths of the Southwest and Great Plains.
The Gray County blaze scorched 100,000 acres, but has since been contained, Martin said. State fire marshals are working to determine the cause.
The three victims were identified as 20-year-old Cody Crockett, 22-year-old Sydney Wallace and Sloan Everett, according to Richard Peet, a county judge and the Gray County director of emergency management. Wallace died from smoke inhalation, while Everett and Crockett were badly burned, he told CNN.
Crockett and Wallace were “an amazing young couple,” according to family friend Lee Tammy Callenback.
Callenback posted a tribute on her business’ Facebook page.
“Cody brought his new found love Sydney to meet us and we immediately knew they were perfect for each other,” Callenback said. “She was an amazing young woman with a bright future as a nurse, but was always trying to keep up with the cowboy way of life.”
The Hoover Volunteer Fire Department said in a Facebook post that all of its units had returned home safely.
One person died in a fire in Lipscomb County, according to Sheriff Kenneth Eggleston — and another fire-related death was reported in Ochiltree County.
Wildfires have forced evacuations in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

Firefighters injured

As many as five firefighters were injured while fighting another fire near Amarillo, Texas. Several blazes merged into one massive fire reportedly 12 to 15 miles across, according to Potter County Sheriff’s Office Capt. John Coffee.
The Texas A&M Forest Service is monitoring two major fires that remain active in the Texas Panhandle.
The largest of the two is the Perryton fire, which is more than 300,000 acres wide and only 5% contained. The fire, which is located in Ochiltree and Lipscomb counties, has destroyed two homes.
The other, the Dumas Complex fire, covers 25,000 acres and was 90% contained Tuesday evening.
The Texas A&M Forest Service and the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center forecast that winds, which help stoke the wildfires, will subside on Wednesday.
Elevated fire conditions will return to the area on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, according to the Forest Service.
Gov. Greg Abbott activated state resources to combat the wildfires, according to a statement from his office.

One dead in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said a man died from smoke inhalation in Clark County after getting out of a semitrailer truck he was driving.
“We’re not out of the woods, by any means,” Brownback said at a news conference where he urged residents to stay home if they didn’t have to travel.
“Yesterday was just a particularly incredible day for the state. We saw fire, floods, fail, tornadoes, straight line winds and dust,” he said.
The Kansas fires have accelerated rapidly throughout the day. According to Catherine Horner, spokeswoman with the state Division of Emergency Management, the fires in Clark County have consumed more than 350,000 acres — or nearly 60% of the county.
The fires have destroyed 30 homes and compromised bridges, Horner said, but it’s now at least 50% contained.
Horner told CNN that the fire in Reno County has forced 10 to 12 thousand people to evacuate. Crews went to homes and structures in the area looking for victims. The Kansas National Guard has lent four Black Hawk helicopters to the firefighting effort for water drops.
She also said the fire spread today to Comanche County, where 500 people had to be evacuated.

One fire-related death in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, a 63-year-old woman died of a heart attack while fighting wildfires alongside her husband in Harper County, according to Dale Spradlin, Director of the state’s Department of Emergency Management.
He told CNN that 125,000 acres were burning in his county alone. The fires destroyed one “inhabited structure,” some barns and “a big hog production complex.”
“It’s 15 to 16% humidity,” Spradlin said. “It’s just like a powder keg out here. A good static charge will start a fire right now.”
An update from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said that eight fire-related breathing complications had been reported to hospitals in the area.
More than 185,000 acres had burned in a fire in Beaver County, and fire departments in Payne County responded to five separate fires throughout the day, according to the update.
Fire conditions were not expected to improve through Tuesday night, according to a press release from Gov. Mary Fallin’s office.
Source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/07/us/wildfires-texas-deaths/

Oklahoma Wildfires Cause Evacuations

On Friday wildfires spread throughout central Oklahoma. One wildfire in particular near Norman, OK forced around 100 to flee from their homes for shelter. The Norman Fire Department and the National Guard worked together to douse the flames. The National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning for half of the state on Friday due to the warm temperatures, low humidity, and high winds. Affected areas include a forest between 108th and 120th Avenue NE, and the east and westbound lanes of I40 near the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort. At this time there are no reported injuries or permanent structural damages.

 

National Guard helicopter flies over a wildfire near SE 149th and Choctaw Rd. on Friday, March 3, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

National Guard helicopter flies over a wildfire near SE 149th and Choctaw Rd. on Friday, March 3, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

http://newsok.com/article/5540144

Did Pinochet-era deregulation cause Chile’s worst-ever wildfires?

After the smoke cleared, over half a million acres of forest, bush, and grassland extinguished and 11 people dead. Who is to blame? Chile’s eucalyptus and pine plantation owners, accused of putting profit before safety. These fires, which were burning since January were some of the countries largest. The reason for this event? The plantations were much too large and close to communities and eucalyptus is known to burn well. Furthermore, the pine trees have highly flammable pine needles, not only the ones on the trees but also the ones that litter the ground. This is especially interesting because you would think that planting trees would make the environment healthier and less prone to hazards, but in this case it made matters worse. Moral of the story? Plant with more variety, with trees that would not burn as well.

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/03/chile-wildfires-forestry-industry-plantations

 

 

Michael Mumenthaler

Bush Fires in New South Wales , Australia.

On friday, hot and windy conditions came to New South Wales Australia and a quick blaze started. The RFS (rural fire service) sent out a notice to residents in the vulnerable area to find safe shelter. So far, 15 homes have been lost to the fires and officials expect the number to rise. Officials say that they have trouble controlling these fires because they are unpredictable, and when it’s dry, start with very little warning. The RFS uses a variety of tactics to keep the fires under control and eventually put them out. They use firetrucks, firemen on the ground and aircraft .Fires are not uncommon in this area of Australia. The flat ground, low lying shrubs and dry, hot climate makes it the ideal place for a forest fire. So far, the only injury from the fires so far is a fireman.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/17/bushfire-destroys-more-than-a-dozen-homes-in-carwoola-say-nsw-firefighters

NSW Bushfires: Village of Uarbry Claimed

Uarby, a tiny community north of Mudgee, New South Wales,  has reportedly been almost totally wiped out by this past weekend’s series of bush fires. Nine of its twelve homes were claimed, as well as its surrounding farmland, which has taken substantial damage. A total of nineteen homes across the state were also confirmed as almost totally wiped out in Warrumbungle, Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Narrabri, and more damage is expected to occur. The fire also claimed the historic Tongy Station, which was built in the early nineteenth century. Flame heights in one area of the state were reported as standing taller than many of the region’s buildings. As of Monday, the threat level was downgraded to an “alert;” however, communication with the impacted areas has remained sparse as a result of failed phone and power lines. Although a relatively small disaster, reports state that the weekend’s events have shattered records for the number of warnings issued by phone in New South Wales: 1.5 million across the state.

Read more and view images:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/13/nsw-village-of-uarbry-all-but-wiped-out-by-bushfires

Extreme heat brings health, fire and power cut warnings across south-eastern Australia

After several days of record breaking heat waves in South Eastern Australia. Government officials have released warnings about the possibility of dangerous bush fires, and possible power cuts. Temperatures were as high as 48 Celsius (118 Fahrenheit). Fires were banned and severe fire warnings were in place for New South Wales. As a result, electricity demand has increased by more than 50% leading to some blackouts as the energy grid is put to the limit. There have been court hearings this week already in the Senate to discuss the energy grid and question representatives from the energy company. As a result of growing public discontent with the state of the power network. The heat wave is expected to last until Sunday of this week.

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/weather/2017/feb/10/extreme-heat-health-fire-power-cut-warnings-south-eastern-australia

 

 

Michael Mumenthaler

Chile Experiences Disastrous Wildfires

Chile has been placed under a state of emergency due to the outbreak of 58 wildfires which has destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed 11 people. Many foreign countries, as well as several individuals and groups have reached out in order to try to help the victims of the fires. Many countries have also sent money and supplies to aid the fighting of the fires, and have sent trained firefighters. In addition, the Chilean government has recently arranged for four new helicopters to help fight the fires.

Original Source

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