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  • #61
    'Like a war zone hit it': Dozens remain missing as deadly wildfires scorch Western states

    Dozens of wildfires tearing through communities across the West on Sunday have killed 33 people, and officials say dozens more are missing.

    Images from the ravaged areas are perfectly apocalyptic, with scorched trees and telephone poles poking out from smoky gray, ashen landscapes. Buildings are reduced to piles of bricks, concrete and metal. Cars sit in driveways and along roadsides, blackened and gutted.

    Major fires spanning several states have burned 4.6 million acres, national fire officials say. That's an area roughly equivalent to Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

    While the 94 major blazes are burning mostly in rural and forested areas, major cities along the West Coast -- Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, among them -- are also feeling the impact.

    Smoke from the blazes is making air quality unhealthy, which can irritate lungs, cause inflammation and affect the immune system, heightening the risk of lung infections such as coronavirus. In Oakland, California, where many businesses and facilities are closed because of statewide Covid-19 precautions, officials have opened "clean air centers" for those with nowhere else to go, CNN affiliate KGO reported.

    "I currently don't have my own home right now so I didn't want to be stuck outdoors all day, and I have asthma. I could start to feel like my breathing was getting a little tight so I decided to come over here," said Teddie Moorehead, who has been homeless since June and sought refuge at the Dimond Branch Library.

    Of the people killed since some of the fires broke out in mid-August, 22 have been in California, many in recent days. Ten people have been killed in Oregon, and a child was killed in Washington state.

    The majority of the fires are in California (25), Washington (16), Oregon (13) and Idaho (10), though blazes have also emerged in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, the National Interagency Fire Center said Sunday morning.

    "More than 30,000 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents across the country," the center said Sunday.

    'It's all gone'
    The Holiday Farm Fire east of Eugene, Oregon, which has torched more than 160,000 acres in the Willamette National Forest -- an area slightly larger than the city of Chicago -- is growing rapidly. It spread 5,000 acres Friday alone, officials say.

    Caught in the middle of the forest is the town of Vida, where Nailah Garner had to flee her dream home last week, she and her husband forced to scramble "like the Keystone Cops," she told CNN affiliate KOMO.

    "We didn't know what to grab. We didn't pack. Who knows what to do when you're going through this?" she said.

    Authorities have shut down the main road into the town of 1,200 situated on the picturesque McKenzie River. Only residents who need to retrieve their pets or emergency medications are allowed past the roadblocks, the station reported.

    Garner could hear the sadness in her friend's voice when she reported that Garner's dream home was no more, KOMO reported. Wearing donated clothes, Garner explained she had lost everything.

    "It's all gone, and it looks like a war zone hit it," she said.

    Three California fires reach historic proportions

    In California, firefighters are battling more than two dozen major fires, but officials expressed hope that improving weather conditions will boost efforts to control the flames.

    Three of the five largest wildfires in state history are burning now, officials say. One of those blazes, the LNU Complex Fire, which was about 96% contained as of Saturday, has burned more than 363,000 acres.

    The fire is burning in Northern California wine country, and vintners worry the smoke will taint the grapes, reducing this year's yield. Oscar Renteria manages thousands of acres of vineyards, including his own patch on the edge of the LNU Complex Fire, about half of which is ruined, he told CNN affiliate KPIX.

    "That's what I can predict right now," he told the station. "I've got two more weeks to go to test, and I'm not sure that I'm even going to pick some of mine. I may just take my losses and go home."

    Little rain, high temperatures and strong winds helped fuel the flames, and it's unclear how long it will take to get them under control.

    Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia's department is fighting fires with 500 personnel, when it usually has 1,000 to 1,500, he said Saturday. Some firefighters are working more than 24 hours in a shift, he said. The Bobcat Fire northeast of Los Angeles is tearing through the mountainous national forest.

    More than 4,100 structures have been destroyed since August 15, Cal Fire said Sunday, adding that 16,750 firefighters are battling fires statewide. As the massive fires rage, more are popping up.

    "Firefighters across the state responded to 36 new wildfires yesterday, and all were contained quickly," the agency said.

    Fires in the state have burned more than 3.3 million acres this year, with the August Complex Fire burning in the Mendocino National Forest accounting for more than a quarter of the sum. The blaze, the largest in state history, is only 28% contained, according to Cal Fire.:

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    • #62
      California wildfire survivors mourn devastation: "It hurts more this time"

      At least 19 people have died in California, Washington and Oregon as historic wildfires ravage the West, scorching millions of acres and forcing thousands of people to evacuate. An official in Oregon said the state is preparing for a "mass fatality incident" as the fires continue.

      People who made it out have harrowing stories to tell, CBS News' Danya Bacchus reports.

      Mandy McDonald is now homeless. "Unfortunately, I went at the very exact moment to come around the corner to see my house falling to the ground completely in flames," she said.

      California resident Denis Hendrickson was forced to evacuate her home in Lake Oroville, California, an area now prone to fires.

      "I've survived four different fires up there until this one and now I don't even know if my home is still standing at this point," she said.

      Hendrickson recounted her narrow escape: "Eight of us had to go down to the end of our road … go into the sand and get down in the water to avoid the fire."

      Another California resident saw his house completely wiped out, two years after a fire claimed his home in a community nearby.

      "It hurts more this time I think than it did last time," he said. "And getting things back together again and having to rebuild is rather devastating."

      California Governor Gavin Newsom described the devastation of this wildfire season as a climate emergency, as powerful, dry winds fuel the blazes there.

      "This is a climate damn emergency. This is real. And it's happening. This is the perfect storm," Newsom said as he toured destruction north of Sacramento, where more than a quarter-million acres burned in a national forest.

      "The reality here is the megafires that we're experiencing come from these megadroughts that we've experienced," he said.

      Saturday may bring relief as the weather system is expected to calm down, but climate experts warn there is no end in sight.

      Scientists point to human behavior, namely the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, for increased temperatures that decimate forests and make them prone to burn.

      "People tweet the photographs of what San Francisco looked like yesterday and say, 'Oh, 2020, could you get any worse?'" said Genevieve Guenther, director of the organization End Climate Science. "As if once we're in 2021 these kinds of disasters are going to stop happening.":

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • #63
        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • #64

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • #65
            2020 Hurricane season

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            • #66
              • As Wildfires Grow More Intense, Iconic Western Forests May Not Come Back

              After a quick hike off a steep dirt road, forest ecologist Marin Chambers stands surrounded by grasses, shrubs and blackened bare trees. This is part of where the Hayman fire — until last month, Colorado's largest in recorded history — burned northwest of Colorado Springs back in 2002. The ground is dry, crunching underfoot.

              "What we're seeing is a very large high-severity burn patch, where the vast majority of the trees have died," says Chambers, with the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University.

              These 18-square miles burned hot and fast in a single day, driven by how dense the forest was because of past fire suppression, high winds and extreme drought. Now, nearly two decades later, something you'd normally see after a wildfire is missing: new trees.

              "Some regeneration may be occurring, but certainly not enough to recreate a forest in the near term," Chambers says. She and her colleagues have found that forests are struggling to grow back some of the state's most iconic species, like ponderosa pine and Douglas fir.

              High-severity fires leave behind massive burn areas with almost nothing alive. And any baby trees simply can't thrive in the increased heat and drought brought on by climate change.

              "Imagine being a ponderosa pine seed trying to grow out here," Chambers says. "It's a pretty intense environment."

              If there is forest regeneration, Chambers says it happens in bands along the forest edge, where surviving trees can still drop their seeds. But she says even that isn't happening at lower elevations, where it's hotter and drier. She's not sure this area of the Hayman fire will ever reforest.

              A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder also finds large parts of the Southern Rocky Mountains will become unsuitable for ponderosa pine and Douglas fir tree regrowth as the climate continues to warm.

              Lead author Kyle Rodman and his team found a stark dividing line, with very little regrowth after the 2000 Walker Ranch Fire near Boulder. The year 2002, Rodman says, "was one of the driest years we've had in the past century or more. So any seedlings that might have established right after the fire, there's a good chance they would have been cooked in that drought."

              Forests become grasslands, and that's bad for carbon emissions

              For areas that can't regenerate, research has found they may instead convert to grasslands.

              Camille Stevens-Rumann, also of Colorado State University, says there can be lots of benefits to having patches of grasslands between forested areas. But it's a problem "where we're talking about tens of thousands of acres that have transitioned from forest to grasslands."

              One major concern is that trees sequester carbon. Fewer trees will capture less carbon, which means more warming, and therefore fewer trees, in a cycle that will make it hard to reach carbon neutrality.

              Thomas Veblen, of the University of Colorado Boulder, says this poses a problem for tree replanting efforts touted as a way to combat climate change.

              "Trees need moisture to survive, and they simply are not going to be surviving in the many, many places where we would like to have them planted and sequestering carbon," he says.

              Stevens-Rumann has studied a large range of burned forests across the West and found some areas no longer able to support the same trees that have been there for one or two centuries.

              "We're really moving away from the suitable climate for tree regeneration to happen," she says.

              But she wants to emphasize that Colorado is not losing all of its forests.

              Some trees, like aspen and oak, do better with regrowth after a fire. She says lodgepole pine forests, such as what's been burning in the Cameron Peak Fire north of Rocky Mountain National Park, have also been found to recover better than some lower-elevation trees. Fire actually makes their cones open to drop seeds.

              In other cases, a different species may move in, or trees may migrate to higher, cooler elevations.

              "That gives me hope for these landscapes," she says. "And I think part of what we all have to accept, in this new and changing world, is that these ecosystems are going to look different than the ones that maybe we have grown fond of in the past.":
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              • #67
                Health effects of smoke from wildfires

                Blanketed in a thick plume of smoke from wildfires burning in Washington, Oregon and California, the Puget Sound woke up to ‘very unhealthy’ to ‘hazardous’ air quality Saturday morning.

                The eerie, brownish-orange haze is expected to slowly move out over the weekend but air experts warn that long-term and even short bouts with the smoke could have impacts on your health.

                “These are levels where everybody should be taking precautions,” said Andrew Wineke. He works with the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Air Quality Program. “Everybody can see it. They can taste it,” he noted when describing the smoke.

                It’s what we can’t see that can cause serious health effects. Floating around are microscopic bits of particulate matter. In this case, that matter is known as PM2.5. Those particles can be up to 100 times thinner than a human hair and penetrate deep into the lungs and blood stream.

                “It’s that scratchy throat, that cough,” said Wineke when describing the immediate signs you’ve been out in the smoke.

                “What we’re worried about with PM2.5 is that it’s so small, it can really get lodged in your lungs, get into your bloodstream. Your body’s defenses just don’t work that well against particles that small so it’s the lasting damage that that can do that we’re concerned about.”

                Some people may also experience itchy eyes and headaches when exposed.

                Wineke stresses that everyone should stay inside as much as possible, especially those with existing breathing problems. He tells KOMO News that in the long run, there can be even more grim consequences.

                “There have been studies linking exposure to wildfire smoke to increased mortality.”:

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                • #68
                  California wildfires have burned an area almost the size of Connecticut

                  Since the start of 2020, wildfires in California have burned over 3.2 million acres of land -- an area almost the size of Connecticut.

                  CalFire said Monday that nearly 16,500 firefighters have been battling 28 major wildfires in the state, which have left 24 people dead and over 4,200 structures destroyed. For those who have avoided the flames, smoke from the fires has choked the air and kept people inside. The continued risk of future fires has forced partial power shutoffs for thousands of California residents.

                  "These are intense, huge blazes," said Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and former Democratic presidential candidate. "This is a huge, immediate, urgent problem."

                  Both Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have attributed the intensity of this season's fires to climate change, pushing back on President Donald Trump's assertion that the fires were due to poor land management.

                  "It's been very clear that years of drought, as we're seeing, whether it's too much water and too much rain in parts of our country right now, or too little," Garcetti told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday. "This is climate change and this is an administration that's put its head in the sand."

                  Record-breaking temperatures and a lack of rain have only exacerbated conditions in a state that has seen dozens of deaths.

                  Trump will visit McClellan Park, outside of Sacramento in Northern California, on Monday for a briefing with local and federal fire and emergency officials on the wildfires, the White House said.

                  At least 35 people have died in the West Coast wildfires, including 24 in California, 10 in Oregon and a child in Washington state.

                  The deadliest blaze has been the North Complex Fire, accounting for more than half of the victims in California.

                  On Sunday, CalFire Butte County officials announced two additional deaths in the blaze for a total of 14 fatalities.

                  The North Complex Fire has burned at least 261,488 acres in Plumas and Butte counties.

                  It is currently 26% contained after entering Butte County "with a vengeance," a little less than a week ago, according to CalFire. The blaze was "driven by extreme winds, heavy dry fuels and steep terrain," CalFire said.

                  "The fire remains very active and now more than ever we need to remain vigilant," the agency said in an incident update Sunday night.

                  "Firefighters across the State responded to 36 new wildfires yesterday, and all were contained quickly," said the update.

                  Weather conditions are not expected to improve any time soon as high winds of up to 40 mph are forecast in the coming days in parts of California.

                  Fire weather watches have been issued throughout the region and, while rain may hit the coastlines of Oregon and Washington where wildfires continue to rage, California is forecast to remain dry.

                  "A Fire Weather Watch is in effect Monday over the Northern Sierra, potentially impacting the North Complex with gusty winds," CalFire said in an update Sunday.

                  A red flag warning was also in effect in northeastern California through Sunday night due to gusty winds and low humidity.

                  "With the changes in weather conditions, we may see the return of critical fire next week," said the CalFire update.

                  Along with the fires comes smoke, which has blanketed the coast turning skies an eerie red in some areas.

                  The air quality forecast for Monday shows unhealthy to hazardous conditions in interior Northern California, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service's Sacramento office.

                  In Southern California, smoke conditions range from moderate to unhealthy, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said in a tweet.

                  Further north, air quality also remains an issue in both Oregon and Washington, as mountain ranges and low cloud ceilings keep smoke in the area longer.

                  Several fires continue to burn throughout the Pacific Northwest, killing ten in Oregon and one in Washington.

                  A child died in the Cold Springs Fire near Omak, Washington, officials said.

                  "My heart breaks for the family of the child who perished in the Cold Springs fire," Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a statement on her social media accounts Friday. "I am devastated. The DNR family is devastated. The pain that family is going through is unfathomable."

                  Franz said she had been touring communities devastated by fires but had hoped no deaths had happened.

                  "Many homes and buildings were lost throughout the state, but the relief I felt in this tragedy is that we hadn't lost any lives. That tragically and horrifically changed today" the commissioner said.:

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • #69

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • #70
                      Dense smoke chokes West Coast as historic wildfires rage

                      Air quality is hazardous across the West Coast, as firefighters endure hot, dry and windy conditions while battling mega-fires. And there'll be no be respite to the dire air quality until later this week "or beyond," scientists warn, per AP.

                      The big picture: The wildfires have killed at least 35 people, displaced thousands, burned a record 3.1 million acres in California this year, and razed hundreds of thousands of acres in Oregon and Washington. Smoke from the fires is affecting the East Coast. The National Weather Service notes it'll "continue to obscure" parts of Virginia this week. Smoke has also been spotted in New York, per NBC News.

                      In photos:

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                      • #71
                        Hurricane Sally could bring "historic" flooding to Gulf Coast

                        Hurricane Sally is moving toward the Gulf Coast, threatening to bring possible historic flooding and "extreme life-threatening" flash flooding, according to forecasters.

                        The eye of the storm is expected to pass near the coast of southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday before making landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning in the hurricane warning area, which stretches from east of Bay St. Louis – a city in Mississippi – to Navarre, Florida.

                        As of Tuesday morning, the storm was located about 55 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 110 miles south of Mobile, Alabama. Maximum sustained winds were 85 mph, with stronger gusts. It was moving northwest at 2 mph.: -

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                        • #72
                          Busy season

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                          • #73
                            Hurricane Sally strengthening as it inches toward Gulf Coast

                            The National Hurricane Center is warning nearly 10 million Americans along the Gulf Coast to expect "life-threatening" and "historic" flooding as Hurricane Sally continues churning just south of Alabama. The storm, which is inching toward landfall, could dump up to two-and-a-half feet of rain in some places and produce storm surges as high as six feet, forecaster say.

                            The storm's outer bands are lashing parts of the coast, and the storm could spin-off tornadoes, as well.

                            Sally strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph early Wednesday, up from 85 mph late Tuesday.

                            Sally is proving to be a challenge to predict, changing her speed and intensity several times over the past 24 hours. Forecasters are warning that more surprises could be in store.

                            As of late Tuesday night, the storm was located about 65 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama, and about 60 miles southwest of Pensacola, Florida, the hurricane center said. Sally was moving north-northeast at 2 mph.:

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                            • #74
                              Hurricane Sally Makes Landfall After Intensifying Into a Category 2 Hurricane Sally has made landfall this morning with potentially historic flooding rainfall, a dangerous storm surge and damaging winds. Sally will also pose a threat of flooding rainfall farther inland across parts of the Southeast.

                              Happening Now

                              Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, at 4:45 a.m. CDT as a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

                              Bands of heavy rain and strong winds are affecting the northern Gulf Coast right now, particularly in parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.

                              A wind gust to 86 mph was measured this morning in Pensacola, Florida. Gulf Shores, Alabama, has seen wind gusts as high as 93 mph.

                              Nearly 300,000 homes and businesses have lost power in southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, according to

                              Storm surge flooding is ongoing near and east of where Sally's center is crossing the coast. A storm surge of over 5 feet has been recorded so far this morning near Pensacola, Florida.

                              Significant flash flooding with flooded roads and homes has also occurred in numerous spots from southeast Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle.

                              A flash flood emergency has been issued by the National Weather Service in northwestern Florida for southwestern Okaloosa County, southeastern Santa Rosa County and south-central Escambia County as well as in Alabama for southern Baldwin County. Doppler radar has estimated rainfall totals of 10 to 25 inches in this area so far.

                              Flooding Rainfall

                              Sally is producing a serious threat of life-threatening flooding rainfall.

                              The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says historic flooding is possible from Sally near and just inland from the northern Gulf Coast.

                              Sally's highest rainfall totals, locally up to 35 inches, are expected from extreme southeast Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle. NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has issued a rare high risk of excessive rainfall for this area on Wednesday.

                              Heavy rainfall from Sally could trigger flooding farther inland across other parts of southern and central Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas through Thursday night. NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of excessive rainfall from much of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle into Georgia and parts of the western Carolinas Wednesday into Thursday:

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • #75


                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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