An out-of-control brush fire at Camp Pendleton was creeping closer to the San Onofre nuclear power plant, prompting evacuations. Southern California Edison said in a tweet that “about a dozen non-essential employees evacuated” from the plant because of the fire. The plant is located off Interstate 5 at the Orange-San Diego county line north of Camp Pendleton. Edison announced last year it was closing the plant due to structural problems with facility. The Camp Pendleton fire was spotted shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday and forced evacuations of the De Luz housing area, Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School and the Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, which is on the northeast edge of the sprawling base. A second school and housing area have been evacuated as the brush fire at Camp Pendleton continues to spread. The fire, dubbed the Tomahawk fire, on the northeast section of the base, had burned more than 150 acres as of 1 p.m., according to Cal Fire. An evacuation center was established at the Paige Fieldhouse on the base. The Pendleton fire was one of several blazes burning in San Diego County. One in Carlsbad has burned homes. More than 11,500 evacuation notices have been issued for the fire as it moves through neighborhoods amid steep brushy canyons.
Fire forces evacuation of San Onofre nuclear plant
An out-of-control brush fire at Camp Pendleton was creeping closer to the San Onofre nuclear power plant, prompting evacuations.
Southern California Edison said in a tweet that “about a dozen non-essential employees evacuated” from the plant because of the fire.
The plant is located off Interstate 5 at the Orange-San Diego county line north of Camp Pendleton. Edison announced last year it was closing the plant due to structural problems with facility.
The Camp Pendleton fire was spotted shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday and forced evacuations of the De Luz housing area, Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School and the Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, which is on the northeast edge of the sprawling base.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Firefighters continued making progress Sunday containing three fires that have blackened 21,900 acres on Camp Pendleton and Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook.
The largest of the fires, the fast-moving Las Pulgas Fire, had burned about 15,000 acres since it erupted for unknown reasons at about 3:15 p.m. on Thursday near a sewage plant in Camp Las Pulgas. The blaze was 75 percent contained Sunday afternoon, according to officials.
The first fire reported, the so-called Tomahawk Fire, broke out at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook at the eastern outskirts of Camp Pendleton at about 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday and later spread to the Marine base. It was 100 percent contained Sunday and had blackened about 5,400 acres.
The most recent blaze to break out at Camp Pendleton, dubbed the San Mateo Fire, began spreading just before 11:30 a.m. on Friday near Basilone Road. It had grown to about 1,500 acres today and was 97 percent contained, according to base officials.
Gen. James F. Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, the Marine Corps Installations West commanding general, were briefed today on the three fires — known collectively as the Basilone Complex – – at Camp Pendleton. Amos and Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Barrett, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, also spoke with firefighters working to extinguish the blazes.
Climate change increasing massive wildfires in West
Credit: Draysen Brooks Bechard
Wildfire near Wenatchee, 2013.
by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:06 AM
Updated today at 11:09 AM
Massive wildfires are on the increase in the Western US due to rising temperatures and worsening drought from climate change, and the trend could continue in the decades to come, new research suggests.
Overall, the number of large wildfires increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, while the total area damaged by fire increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres per year, according to the study, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
The study comes against the backdrop of what could to be a disastrous year for fires in the West, especially drought-plagued California, which even saw fires in the normally quiet month of January.
Though relatively calm this week, “Expect dry and windy conditions to develop over the Southwest Tuesday and Wednesday,” according to a forecast Friday from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. By May, “Above normal significant fire potential will expand over portions of Southern, Central and Northern California,” the NIFC predicted earlier this month.
Fire crews continue to battle a 40 to 50-acre grass fire on Kimball Island in the delta that broke out Tuesday afternoon. The island is near Antioch where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet and border Contra Costa, Solano and Sacramento counties. Solano County Fire dispatchers said the fire started at a home on the island. The flames fully engulfed the home and spread to the dry grass on the island. Dispatchers said two other structures were threatened by the fire. Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Snedeker said 20 structures – including homes and cabins – are on the island. He said all 11 people were safely evacuated and no one was injured. Delta Fire Protection District out of Rio Vista, Montezuma Fire, River Delta Fire with the Sacramento County Fire Department, Suisun Fire District and a Cal Fire helicopter helped fight the grass fire. The U.S. Coast Guard and Sacramento County Marine Patrol units also responded to the fire. Coast Guard Lt.
Jared Hood said his crew was not equipped to battle fires on land, but can make sure people are safe. He said four people were evacuated by the crew and seven people left the island on their own boats.
Posted:2014-01-15 04:15:56 [UTC]
Grass fire forces evacuations of delta island
2:26 AM, Jan 15, 2014
Fire crews battle grass fire on Kimball Island on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (Photo taken via KGO helicopter)
SACRAMENTO – Fire crews continue to battle a 40 to 50-acre grass fire on Kimball Island in the delta that broke out Tuesday afternoon.
The island is near Antioch where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet and border Contra Costa, Solano and Sacramento counties.
Solano County Fire dispatchers said the fire started at a home on the island. The flames fully engulfed the home and spread to the dry grass on the island. Dispatchers said two other structures were threatened by the fire.
“It should be green out here. And if you look today, this is January. If you look at it, it’s dry just like in June,” said Assistant Chief Dan Schindler with Montezuma Fire Protection District.
Here are the main points from the latest briefing from RFS NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. You can watch the briefing in full below.
There are 79 fires burning across the state, 29 uncontained. Three emergency warning alerts are in place, and four “watch and act”.
Springwood activity is increasing and the new fire near Dudley is burning towards properties. Fitzsimmons said: “there are plenty of firefighters and fire engines in and around those areas.”
He asked parents not to try and pick up children still at the Redhead school until advised. The kids are safe.
There is a new breakout of fire near Raymond Terrace near Elizabeth Drive. It is burning near the Pacific Highway. It’s not posing any immediate threat to property.
The Minmi fire is burning still to the west of the M1 motorway. The road is closed. “There’s still a lot of work to do” before it’s brought under control.
There are no reported significant breakouts in the other fires, although there are fires at the back of people’s homes in some areas.
“We still have a few hours yet of the strong winds and warmer conditions. The winds are expected to continue right through to nightfall and beyond. We are expecting … that there will be a swing around overnight to a more southerly influence. It will be a dry change though…and we’ll see a dry, cooler day tomorrow with fairly strong southwesterly winds, 40kmph gusting 60-80kmph. Whatever unfolds throughout the afternoon today, there will still be a lot of fire edge that firefighters have to deal with throughout tomorrow, the coming days and coming weeks.”
What to do when you’re staring down a fierce fire front? Head to the pub, of course.
Jared White, manager of the Royal Springwood Hotel, told Guardian Australia the establishment is acting as a hub for those who have lost property in Springwood, as well as those who are concerned fire is heading their way.
“The town is pretty quiet, people are ready to leave,” he said. “A lot of them are heading here for support and reassurance. There have been heaps of people coming in, every second one of them with a story of losing something or friends who have done so.
“People aren’t too down. It’s a good community; people support each other. People who have moved out of the area have come back to offer to store things for their friends.”
White said water-carrying helicopters were circling the town, although the current wind direction is pushing flames away from Springwood.
“I’m not too worried, but it will only take a change of wind for it to be heading our way,” he added
Phil Holding, an RFS group captain for the Southwest Slopes zone, spoke to my colleague Oliver Milman this afternoon. Holding said that fires could continue to burn in parts of the Blue Mountains until the winter.
“I suspect they will keep burning for months,” he told Guardian Australia. “They will thicken up the containment lines but further in rough country, given the terrain, I wouldn’t be surprised if fires keep blowing up until winter. Unless we have a very wet summer, people will get very tired of it.”
Roland Clarke lives in Mt Victoria on one of the area’s streets hit hardest by the bushfire last week. Clarke told Guardian Australia how he and his neighbours stayed to prepare their homes and fight the fire off, but it came up so quickly that they had to run. His house was one of just a few that did not burn down.
Huge fire erupts in the southern town of Maghdouche on Monday Oct. 7, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
Forest / Wild Fire
South Governorate, [District of Sidon]
Forest / Wild Fire in Lebanon on Monday, 07 October, 2013 at 12:15 (12:15 PM) UTC.
A large forest fire erupted Monday in the southern Sidon town of Maghdouche, prompting a nearby school to evacuate students and staff members. There were no reports of casualties. Civil Defense teams and firefighters from the city of Sidon are working on putting out the fire, which caused thick plumes of white smoke to blanket the southern town. Their efforts are being hampered by strong winds that are helping the fire expand. Residents fear the flames could reach their homes. Agriculture in the town, known for its vineyards and olive trees, was affected by the fire.
Forest fire in s. Lebanon town, school evacuated
Soldiers try to put out a fire that erupted in the southern town of Maghdouche on Monday Oct. 7, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
SIDON, Lebanon: A forest fire erupted Monday in the southern Sidon town of Maghdouche, prompting a nearby school to evacuate students. One soldier, sent in to help response efforts, was injured.
Civil Defense and firefighters from the city of Sidon were dispatched just after noon when the fire, which caused thick plumes of white smoke to blanket the sky, erupted in the forests of Maghdouche.
Students and teachers at the nearby Al-Aila School were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
The Army was dispatched later in the day to reinforce response crews in the area. A helicopter was sent in as part of the Army effort.
Forest / Wild Fire in Israel on Saturday, 14 September, 2013 at 18:13 (06:13 PM) UTC.
A forest fire broke Saturday evening in the vicinity of Mount Meron, and spread to the nearby village of Amirim. Hundreds of the village’s residents were evacuated from their homes and 10 firefighting crews were called to the scene. Once the fire was detained, police announced that the residents can return to their homes. The circumstances behind the fire are unclear, and there were no injuries or damage to property
A forest fire broke Saturday evening in the vicinity of Mount Meron, and spread to the nearby village of Amirim. Hundreds of the village’s residents were evacuated from their homes and 10 firefighting crews were called to the scene.
Once the fire was detained, police announced that the residents can return to their homes. The circumstances behind the fire are unclear, and there were no injuries or damage to property. (Maor Buchnik)
A firefighter gives instructions near a bushfire at the Windsor Downs Nature Reserve, near Sydney Photograph: Daniel Munoz/Reuters
Three of the four major bushfires in Sydney’s west have been brought under control with weather conditions easing on Wednesday, as an investigation was launched into what caused the blazes.
Winds reached 50km/h on Tuesday while temperatures were over 30 degrees in parts of Sydney as bushfires which destroyed one house and injured firefighters burnt out of control in western Sydney and in the Blue Mountains.
The fires reached emergency status but were downgraded to “watch and act” on Tuesday morning and to “advice” on Wednesday morning as winds eased and temperatures dropped by about ten degrees.
The firefighters’ union used the emergency to attack budget cuts by the NSW state government saying five fire stations were closed because of budget cuts as the bushfires burnt.
Bushfires in Winmalee, Castlereagh and Marsden Park are burning within containments line but on Wednesday morning a bushfire in Richmond was still burning outside of control lines, according to a spokeswoman for the Rural Fire Service.
Firefighters battled wildfires on Friday in Portugal where they have claimed five lives and tamed another major blaze in northern Spain, officials said.
In Portugal, some 1,400 firefighters backed by Spanish and French aircraft were battling a series of fires that have ravaged thousands of hectares of forest in the north and centre of the country.
Locals helped fight Portugal’s main fire in the central Caramulo mountain range, tipping buckets of water or beating it with branches. Others stood by amazed, holding rags over their mouths to shield them from the smoke.
“I’ve never seen such a fierce fire. Everything is covered in soot. It is going to be difficult to continue living here,” said Maria Sousa, 66, a local resident.
Locals shout as they try to extinguish a wildfire in Caramulo, central Portugal on August 29, 2013. Five Portuguese mountain villages were evacuated overnight as forest fires intensified in the country’s north and centre, officials said today. As many as 1,400 firefighters were dispatched Thursday to tackle the blaze in the mountains and another raging further north in the national park of Alvao, where 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of pine forest have already been destroyed, according to the local mayor. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters works at the site of a wildfire O Rosal near Pontevedra, on August 29, 2013. Spain is prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation. Last year wildfires destroyed some 150,000 hectares of land in Spain from January to July, after one of the driest winters on record. PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images
Flames and smoke rise into the air as a firefighters works at the site of a wildfire in Lousame, near A Coruna, on August 29, 2013. Spain is prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation. Last year wildfires destroyed some 150,000 hectares of land in Spain from January to July, after one of the driest winters on record. PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images
The wildfire threatening Yosemite National Park is spreading further into the US tourist landmark, officials said as they battled to stop it clouding a holiday weekend.
Efforts to contain the so-called Rim Fire, which has grown to become California’s sixth biggest wildfire ever, were also being boosted by the deployment of a military drone approved by the Pentagon.
The fire, which now covers more than 192,000 acres, or 300 square miles, and is 30 percent contained, has also threatened San Francisco’s water supply, due to ash falling on a key reservoir.
The blaze, about a quarter of which is now inside the park’s boundaries, “is expected to continue its eastward spread farther into the west side of Yosemite National Park,” said the latest firefighters’ online update.
The fire, which started west of the park on August 17, is threatening some 4,500 structures and on Wednesday forced the closure of a second main road into the major US tourist attraction ahead of the Labor Day weekend.
A view of Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley on August 28, 2013 in Yosemite National Park, California …
A surge of visitors is typically expected over this weekend’s Labor Day holiday at Yosemite, which draws millions of tourists every year, most in July and August. Labor Day traditionally marks the end of the summer season.
Raging California wildfire threatens more of Yosemite
Los Angeles County firefighters hike in on a fire line on the Rim Fire near Groveland, Calif., Aug. 22.
The wildfire near Yosemite National Park is 20 percent contained, while more than 4,000 firefighters work towards quelling the huge blaze altogether. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.
By Tom Costello and Tracy Jarrett, NBC News
A California wildfire that has scorched an area nearly as large as New York City near Yosemite National Park was 20 percent contained Tuesday, officials said. But the raging blaze was expected to move farther into the park and threaten a reservoir that provides most of San Francisco’s water.
The so-called Rim Fire, has charred 179,480 acres, or about 280 square miles, making it California’s seventh largest fire in state history, according to the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It threatens 4,500 structures as well as the power and water utilities for San Francisco, roughly 200 miles to the west.
The flames also loomed over towering sequoias that are among the largest and oldest living things on the planet. The iconic trees can withstand fire, but brutal conditions — including harsh winds and thick brush — have prompted park employees to take extra precautions in the Tuolumne and Merced groves, according to the Associated Press.
“All of the plants and trees in Yosemite are important, but the giant sequoias are incredibly important both for what they are and as symbols of the National Park System,” park spokesman Scott Gediman told the AP.
They swing the same Pulaskis, buzz the same chainsaws and face the same dangers.
But 673 of the wildland firefighters battling the ferocious blaze around Yosemite National Park have something that other hotshot crew members do not: a prison identification number.
They’re part of California’s conservation camp program, which takes convicts out of jail cells and puts them on the front lines of wildfires, where they earn $1 an hour cutting containment lines that keep flames from spreading.
“They are in the thick of it,” said Capt. Jorge Santana of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The agency has sent 621 men and 52 women to tackle the so-called Rim Fire, which has engulfed nearly 300 square miles of land in 12 days. More have been deployed to 20 other fires across the state.
Inmate firefighters line up for dinner at the Rim Fire camp near Buck Meadows, Calif.
“They work 24-hour shifts,” Santana said. “They sleep in tents at base camp. They work side-by-side with other firefighters.
“They risk their lives.”
Other states have inmate firefighters, but California’s program — with 42 minimum-security camps and more than 4,100 volunteers — is the biggest and oldest, dating to 1946.
Aaron Olguin, 30, said he heard about it soon after he was sentenced to four years and four months for a drunken-driving crash in which people were injured.
Like other applicants, he underwent two weeks of punishing fitness training: grueling hikes, 9-minute mile-long runs and a regime of military-style calisthenics. Then came two weeks of job training by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“We hiked straight up mountains with 45 pounds on our back, carrying tools and water and other necessities,” he said.
Olguin got some time shaved off his sentence and spent almost three years in the program before being released last November. He estimates he worked up to 20 fires and recalled some “close calls” with falling rocks and trees at night.
Military drone drafted to tackle massive Yosemite wildfire; smoke cancels football games
The Rim Fire burns along Highway 120 near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Aug. 25. With winds gusting and flames jumping from treetop to treetop, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to protect communities in the path of the Rim Fire raging north of Yosemite National Park.
A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge ahead of the advancing Rim Fire on Aug. 22, in Groveland, Calif.
The fight against the Western wildfires just got upgraded. Unmanned military drones are being used in the battle against California’s massive wildfire. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.
By Henry Austin, NBC News contributor
An unmanned military Predator drone, similar to those that have seen action in Afghanistan, has been called in to battle against a raging California wildfire that has scorched an area almost as large as New York City.
The enormous Rim Fire, which has charred 200,000 acres in 13 days, has unleashed a smoky haze that has worsened air quality more than 100 miles away in Nevada. High school athletics officials canceled all football games Friday and Saturday across eight counties in both states as the air quality index hovered around the “unhealthy” level.
The drone, an MQ-1 aircraft remotely piloted by the 163rd Wing of the California National Guard, is helping to provide round-the-clock information to firefighters.
The wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park was more than 30 percent contained as more than 4,000 firefighters continued to make progress. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.
“The drone is providing data directly back to the incident commander, allowing him to make quick decisions about which resources to deploy and where,” California fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
Previously, crews tackling the blaze relied on helicopters that needed to refuel every two hours, for their air information.
But the drone, which is the size of a small Cessna plane, will remain over the burn zone for up to 22 hours at a time, its fitted cameras providing real-time video on the fire’s movement.
Pilots will operate the craft remotely from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside. It will be escorted by a manned aircraft.
Officials were eager to point out that the images are being used only to aid in the effort to contain the fire, which has become California’s sixth-largest on record.
UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: A wildfire outside Yosemite National Park more than tripled in size Thursday, shutting down businesses in surrounding communities and leading scores of tourists to leave the area during peak season.
California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to the huge fire, one of several blazes burning in or near the nation’s national parks and one of 50 major uncontained fires burning across the western U.S.
Fire officials said the blaze near Yosemite, which threatens several thousand homes, hotels and camp buildings, had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier. Two homes and seven outbuildings have been destroyed. (Click here to see a PDF map of the area.)
UPDATE: As of Thursday morning, the fire is 53,866 acres, with more than 1,300 firefighters battling it. Containment has been reduced from 5 percent Wednesday to 2 percent as the fire moved up Cherry Creek and the Tuolumne River Canyon.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters continued to wage an uphill battle against the Rim fire, which jumped a containment line and has grown in nearly every direction.
The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon, saying in a resolution that the fire “is now directly threatening various communities and businesses within the County and is beyond our capabilities.” Members asked Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. (Click here for update.)
The fire, which broke out in a remote area near Groveland on Saturday, has consumed more than 16,000 acres in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties and is threatening 2,500 structures. Firefighters have struggled to protect small communities and campgrounds in the area, but nine structures have been destroyed.
It’s one of 51 major uncontained wildfires burning in California, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. More than 19,000 firefighters were fighting the fires.
On Wednesday, authorities broadened their evacuation area for the Rim fire, adding the community of Pine Mountain Lake. Evacuations so far remain advisory rather than mandatory, said Ashley Taylor, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
Fire rages out of control with only 2% of the Rim Fire contained in the Stanislaus National Forest on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013. ANDY ALFARO — The Modesto Bee Buy Photo
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