Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Large wildfires that have been burning in grasslands (steppe) in southern Siberia for about a week. A State of Emergency has been declared in the Transbaikal region where about 1,200 personnel are battling the blazes. The province of Khabarovsk is also affected. Satellite images show the extent of the blazes.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Massive steppe wildfires, propelled by strong winds, have destroyed more than a hundred houses in the Siberian region of Trans-Baikal, leaving hundreds of local residents homeless. More than 400 people were affected by the wildfires that got out of control in the remote Russian region on the Mongolian border. At least, 111 houses in 15 villages were lost in the disaster, the governor’s office said. The people evacuated in time and there have been no fatalities related to the fires.

Wildfires – Mexico

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An image from NASA Earth Observatory shows a large wildfire burning in a forest located west of Cienega de Escobar in Durango, Mexico. According to news reports, the fire is one of 95 wildfires burning in 18 Mexican states.

Wildfires – Scotland

A series of wildfires took hold on the north side of the Isle of Bute. The fire service said a large area of moorland and forestry were affected.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

UAE – Up to 570 people were rescued after spending overnight in rain-soaked mountains that triggered flash floods in Ras Al Khaimah on Sunday, according to RAK police. It was second day of unstable weather that brought a rush of surface runoff from the emirate’s majestic peaks, causing fast-flowing torrents in wadis, and inundating houses and vehicles in some low-lying areas.

Siberia, Russia – Synchronised explosions are used to unblock the Amur River, a major waterway in the Russian Far East to protect villagers from flooding. Such explosions are common at this time of year – but not always as aesthetic. Carried out by the Russian Emergencies Ministry, the aim is to prevent walls of ice behind which the river level rises, posing a threat to remote settlements.

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Environment

Black Snow Is Falling from the Skies in Siberia

A pall of eerie black snow has covered several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass, which is home to 2.6 million people and one of the world’s largest coal fields.

According to the Guardian and the Siberian Times, the snow is tainted with toxic black coal dust that was released into the air from open coal pits and improperly maintained factories in the region. One coal plant official told the local media that a shield meant to prevent coal powder from escaping out of the factory had malfunctioned — however, toxic black snowfall seems to be a regular phenomena in the area and it isn’t necessarily tied to a single source.

Kuzbass (short for Kuznetsk Basin) is one of the largest coalfields in the world, spanning more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers). A 2015 report from Ecodefense found that the citizens of Kuzbass have an average life expectancy 3 to 4 years shorter than the Russian national average and have nearly twice the risk of contracting tuberculosis and childhood mental disorders.

Black snows like this one are a frequent winter feature in the region, the report found, and mitigation attempts have been… lacking. For instance, in December 2018, regional authorities were accused of trying to hide the toxic black stuff by literally painting over it with white pigment.

Wildfires

Russia spikes clouds to drench raging wildfires

Russia is using Soviet-era technology to make chemically induced rain clouds in desperate bid to stop raging wildfires.

Black smoke has already travelled 5,000 miles, hitting Canada and parts of the US, as the out-of-control fires spreading.

Originally invented to bring sunshine to the Red Square for communist military parades, the high-tech plan sess clouds spiked with a chemical cocktail causing precipitation to drench out-of-control flames affecting Yakutia – the world’s coldest region.

Brown bears are fleeing the burning Siberian taiga and venturing close to towns and villages where they are being shot as a danger to people.

Greenpeace say territories equal to the size of Scotland and Northern Ireland combined has been destroyed in Russian wildfires in recent weeks – including swathes of irreplaceable ancient boreal forest.

Wildfires – British Columbia, Canada

As much of B.C. blisters under a heat wave, 11 new fires have sprung up across the province since Friday. Crews also continue to battle the 500-hectare East Shuswap Road wildfire east of Kamloops, which remains classified as “out of control.”

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, there were 61 fires burning across the province on Saturday, about half of them lightning-caused and at least 18 of them human-caused.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Sweden

Sweden’s heatwave shows no sign of ending, but there is a risk of forest fires in almost all of the country, and the drought is a problem for farmers. National weather agency SMHI currently has wildfire warnings in place in all of Sweden apart from in the mountains in the north-west. More than 2,000 calls came in to emergency services during the month of June alone about wildfires and the public is urged to respect any barbecue bans in place in their local area.

Wildfires – Siberia

Smoke created from massive wildfires more than 4,000 miles away in Siberia reached New England this week. The wildfires were burning in eastern Siberia and have lofted massive amounts of smoke high into the atmosphere. Strong winds aloft in the polar jet stream carried some of the smoke from the fires across the Bering Strait and into northern Alaska, then southeastward into central Canada and eventually across the Great Lakes and eastward into southern New England.

Global Warming

Siberia’s mining potential grows due to global warming

As the Siberian land becomes more accessible because of global warming, it seems that we’ll see a greater influx of mining operations in the region, assumes mining-technology.com. According to Globaldata’s analyst Alok Shukla, there were over 220 operating mines in Siberia in 2017, which was 44% higher than the total number of mines in 2000. ”Siberia has a lot of mining potential,” says the expert. ”There are over 25 mineral deposits currently having a life of over 20 years and 30 deposits having a life of over 30 years; [there are] approximately 10 deposits that can produce for another 40 years and three deposits having a life extending for another 70 years.”

However, the exploration is hindered by some of the harshest conditions in the world. Kupol gold mine in the Chukotka region exploited by Canadian company Kinross is only accessible by air for most of the year. All of the supplies for the year for its 1,000 workers are transported between November and April when a 220-mile ice road is opened. The isolation makes Siberian mines hard places to live and work.

Although Siberia is one of the coldest places on earth, global warming has already begun to affect the northern landscape. Less snow and ice in areas such as Siberia is potentially easing aspects such as transport, extraction and recruitment like it happens in the oil and gas industry, where the melting of Arctic ice has opened areas previously inaccessible or too treacherous for operations.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Firefighters have extinguished nearly 100 wildfires across Russia on a total area of more than 7,400 hectares over the past 24 hours, the press service of the Aerial Forest Protection Service said on Tuesday.

“As of midnight on May 22, 45 wildfires were raging in the territory of 23,648 ha, and an active firefighting effort has been ongoing,” the statement said.

On Monday, 55 fire hotspots on the area of 20,700 ha were registered in the Russian forests. The largest blazes are raging in the Far Eastern Amur Region, with 13,700 hectares covered by 12 blazes. Large areas engulfed by fires have also been registered in the Khabarovsk Region (960 ha), Primorye (17 ha), Yakutia (2 ha) and the Jewish Autonomous Region (50 ha).

Besides Russia’s Far East, the wildfires have been registered in the Transbaikal Region on the area of more than 8,600 ha, in the Chelyabinsk Region (200 ha), in the Murmansk Region (21 ha), the Republic of Dagestan (16 ha), in the Sverdlovsk, Murmansk, Chelyabinsk, and Tyumen Regions, and also in some areas of the Tyva Republic.

The firefighting effort involves some 2,500 people and more than 550 pieces of equipment. Some 33 aircraft are monitoring the situation.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

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A large wildfire on a hill near Komsomolsk-on-Amur has stifled the far-east city in smoke. Locals say the authorities have failed to tackle the fires. A train confronted by the fire was abandoned by the driver.

Wildfires – Alberta, Canada

Firefighters on the ground near Bruderheim, Alta., have been working hard to keep raging wildfire flames away from homes but dry, windy conditions are complicating their efforts after multiple large grassfires ignited Saturday.

Wildfires – Texas, USA

Firefighters in the Texas Panhandle are working to contain a wildfire that has blackened more than 69,000 acres. Nearly 300 firefighters are at the blaze, which began last week about 40 miles southeast of Amarillo and not far from Palo Duro Canyon, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported Sunday. The fire was about 15 percent contained Sunday afternoon.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Russia’s Federal Forest Fire Center said on April 29 that more than 70 wildfires in the previous 24 hours had destroyed about 1,870 square kilometers of forest land in the country’s Far East.

The center said on its website that the most difficult situation was in the Amur Region – including 370 square kilometers in the Khingan Nature Reserve. Fires also were reported in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk regions, and in the Jewish Autonomous region. The center said fires also raged through the Trans-Baikal, Omsk, and Bashkortostan regions.

More than 2,800 people and 495 vehicles, including 25 aircraft, were involved in efforts to extinguish the blazes.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

As many as 37 wildfires have been reported in Siberia and Russia’s Far East, sweeping across more than 4,200 hectares of land. Russia’s Federal Forest Protection Service said on April 25 that the largest wildfires were raging in the Amur and Zabaikalye regions. Wildfires were also reported in the regions of Buryatia, Irkutsk, and Tuva.

Russia’s wildfire season usually starts in April or May each year and mainly affects thick forests in Siberia and the Far East.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the western Pacific: Typhoon (td) 03w (Jelawat), located approximately 388 nm north-northwest of Ulithi, is tracking northeastward at 08 knots.

Newsbytes:

Siberia – The government of Russia’s Republic of Tuva in southern Siberia says the region has been hit by floods triggered by melting snow. In a March 29 statement, the Tuva government said 88 homes were hit by flooding in the Kyzyl district, adding that hundreds of residents were affected by the floods, while rescue teams are providing people with shelter and food. Authorities in the neighboring Republic of Khakasia announced a state of emergency on March 28 as snowmelt caused massive floods there as well. Authorities in the nearby Altai Krai, where a state of emergency was declared on March 27, said on March 28 that two men had died in the floods.

Texas, USA – Severe thunderstorms caused flash floods in parts of Texas on March 28. The Woodlands cataloged the most rainfall in the Greater Houston area over a 24-hour period, with 6.3 inches recorded by the National Weather Service. In Harris County, rainfall ranged from a high of 5.56 inches in Westfield to a low of 1.1 inches near Holcombe. Houston meteorologists confirmed that a weak tornado producing winds of 60 mph went through Iowa Colony in Brazoria County Thursday morning. The West Fork of San Jacinto River is expected to rise above 51 feet through mid-day, causing moderate flooding.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Wildfires in Russia’s Far East and Siberia swelled by 3,600 ha to 16,700 ha over the past 24 hours, the Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service reported on Friday.

“The major increase occurred in the Magadan Region – in one day the wildfire area grew 43-fold from 40 ha to 1,700 ha. In the Amur Region the wildfires grew from 1,700 to almost 2,000 ha, and in the Irkutsk Region – from 4,000 to 5,200 ha,” the service said.

Wildfires – New Mexico, USA

Eleven wildfires are burning in New Mexico as of Thursday. The state Department of Health issued a smoke advisory for northern parts of the state.

Air Pollution From Wildfires Much Worse Than Previous Estimates

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Particle pollution from wildfires, long known for containing soot and other fine particles known to be dangerous to human health, is much worse than previously thought, a new study shows.

Naturally burning timber and brush from wildfires release dangerous particles into the air at a rate three times as high as levels known by the EPA, researchers at Georgia Tech found.

Scientists sampled air quality by flying planes directly into thick plumes from three major wildfires, including the 2013 Rim Fire, the largest wildfire in the Sierra Nevada. Previous EPA data was based on plume samples from controlled burns. Greg Huey is the study’s lead author.

“Under the conditions of the prescribed fires, it seems like you can get a smaller impact on air quality, So I think an extrapolation is that if you had more prescribed burning you might prevent some wildfires and in the process of doing that you would also probably help air quality issues,” Huey says.

The study also found wildfires spew methanol, benzene, ozone and other noxious chemicals.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Wildfires raging through Siberia have swelled by more than 2,000 ha over the past 24 hours engulfing 9,200 ha, the Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service reported on Wednesday.

The Irkutsk Region and the Transbaikal Territory are among the worst-hit areas, according to the service.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Forest fires raging through Siberia’s Trans-Baikal Region have more than doubled in one day from 1,200 hectares to 2,700 hectares, the regional Natural Resources and Ecology Department reported today.

“On Monday morning, there were five blazes in the region scorching a total of 1,300 hectares, while four more blazes engulfing 288.5 hectares had been contained. In addition, two forest fires are raging on the Russian Defense Ministry’s territory of 40 hectares, and one fire covering 1,000 hectares has been contained. There is no danger to any communities,” the statement said.

The main culprit for the fires, according to the regional department, is human activity, whereas they keep spreading because of a higher daytime temperature and powerful winds. A total of 447 people, including 160 paratroopers, and 78 military vehicles are engaged in the fire-fighting operations.

The conflagration worsened in some Siberian regions last week. Blazes broke out in 10 communities in the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk Regions, consuming 179 buildings in their path that were home to 720 people, six economic facilities and 15 non-residential facilities. Three people lost their lives as the blazes tore through the Krasnoyarsk Region. The Trans-Baikal Region has been placed under a state of emergency restricting access to forests, or entering them in any vehicles.

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