US wildfires cause mass bird die off
After an abnormally large number of migratory birds turned up dead in people’s backyards in Colorado and other parts of western and central U.S. states.
Around the same period as the birds’ deaths, more than 3 million hectares (7.8 million acres) of land burned, which resulted in habitat loss and the emission of toxic compounds that threaten the health of both avian species and humans. In addition, snowstorms struck parts of the Northwest in early September while these birds were in the midst of their annual migration. Some areas experienced temperature drops of as much as 40°C (72°F) in just a few hours.
Researchers found that the wildfires and also the toxic air were the two factors that influenced the birds’ mortality. There was a strong correlation between the observations of dead birds and wildfires and the toxic gases they produced, but there was not enough information to conclude that the avian mortality was connected to the early winter storms.
Wildfires – New Jersey, USA
A massive wildfire in Lakewood, NJ, has engulfed at least two commercial buildings, Sunday afternoon. Smoke can be seen over the Garden State Parkway, and the entire highway – in both directions – has been closed in the area of Exit 89.
Wildfires – India
Wildfires in Odisha, which had been raging on over the past two weeks, have now been fully contained, and we have nature to thank for it!
Similipal National Park in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha was the main hotspot, where vast tracts of forest were charred by the fires. Some forest regions surrounding the national park also fell into the grip of this massive wildfire, which persistently proved to be too difficult to control.
But finally, relief from this ecological disaster was brought by widespread rains and hail that poured over the burning forest starting Thursday, which effectively reduced the intensity of the fires.
Wildfires – Argentina
Wildfires in Argentina’s Chubut and Rio Negro provinces have left at least eight people dead and dozens of people injured, while hundreds evacuated, and homes were destroyed. Officials said the fire may have started on Tuesday in a Las Golondrinas sector and then advanced towards Lago Puelo’s town.
The wind spread the flames rapidly, devastating forests and some 250 houses. About 350 people have been evacuated. The fires have already destroyed some 2,000 hectares.
Some 20 Argentine provinces have been affected by recurring fires since 2020, caused largely by drought. But many were started deliberately, authorities believe.
The province of Cordoba, in the center of the country, has been the most affected, with 331,000 hectares burned, while more than one million hectares have been destroyed nationwide. The lack of rain in 2020 made it the driest year in Argentina for a quarter of a century.
Wildfires – Alabama, USA
Wildfires have burned more than 2,300 acres of land across Alabama in recent days, forestry officials said Monday as firefighters battled two dozen blazes statewide. Fire charred 560 acres in St. Clair County, and two 400-acre fires burned in Cullman and Cherokee counties, according to a statement by the Alabama Forestry Commission. Another fire burned 200 acres in Escambia County.
Wildfire Smoke More Harmful To Humans Than Pollution From Cars
Tens of millions of Americans experienced at least a day last year shrouded in wildfire smoke. Entire cities were blanketed, in some cases for weeks, as unprecedented wildfires tore across the Western U.S., causing increases in hospitalizations for respiratory emergencies and concerns about people’s longer-term health. A new study finds those concerns are well founded.
Researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego say that the tiny particles released in wildfire smoke are up to 10 times more harmful to humans than particles released from other sources, such as car exhaust.
Wildfires – Australia
At least 71 homes have been destroyed in a bushfire raging out of control near Australia’s fourth-biggest city Perth, authorities said Wednesday, as they told residents to ignore a coronavirus lockdown and leave threatened areas.
The blaze has torn through swathes of land in the Perth Hills and was moving toward more densely populated areas. Six firefighters received minor injuries — including one who officials said suffered burns and continued working to extinguish the blaze — but no deaths or serious injuries have been reported so far.
Wildfires – South Africa
A wildfire in the Jonkershoek Valley in the Cape Winelands continues to rage out of control. Authorities are warning residents to pack a bag and be ready to evacuate. The fire has burned approximately 8 500 hectares and more than 250 firefighters and 24 vehicles are fighting the blaze. Two firefighters have been injured.
Wildfires – UK
A number of major wildfires have sprung up across Cornwall and Devon over the past week, culminating with a massive blaze on Dartmoor. It is understood that the bitingly cold winds which have lashed the UK in the past few days have served to dry out the vegetation, making it more flammable. These same winds, despite their chill, have then fanned the flames of these fires, helping them spread and making them even more difficult to put out. The remote locations of the fires also made them even more challenging to extinguish.
In Scotland, A wildfire has broken out in the Highlands on a busy day for firefighters on the mainland and islands. Two fire engines from Dingwall and one from Applecross were scrambled to the scene of a wildfire in the Loch Carron area of Ross-shire. It follows another Wester Ross wildfire last night between Aultbea and Laide, near to Laide Wood. Elsewhere, another blaze cut off road access to the north of Skye on Friday afternoon after a wildfire broke out close to the A87 between Luib and Moll.
Wildfires – California
California’s annual rainy season is getting underway about 27 days later now than it did in the 1960s, according to new research. Instead of starting in November, the onset of the rains is now delayed until December, and the rain, when it comes, is being concentrated during January and February. Less rain is falling in the so-called shoulder seasons of autumn and spring, and more is falling during the core winter months. The worst fires occur in the fall, rather than in the hottest summer months, because that’s when vegetation is at its maximum dryness.
Logging and Wildfires
Logging of native forests makes them much more flammable and elevates the severity of bushfires when they occur, pushing some species closer to ecological collapse, according to a review of published science by two leading universities. The study found logging increased the severity of forest fires from about 10 years after the trees are extracted with effects lasting more than three decades. Selective logging or thinning can also increase fire risks. It is up to seven times more likely that the canopy in a logged forest will burn compared with an unlogged forest and once the canopy is burnt, it takes a long time for the recovery. The fragmentation of the canopy also results in warmer and drier conditions for the remaining vegetation as litter and the soil desiccate, contributing increased flammability, the paper noted.
Wildfires – Australia
Hundreds of Australians have fled to evacuation centres as a bushfire on the outskirts of the locked-down city of Perth continues to grow and threaten communities. The blaze – the largest the city has seen in years – has burnt through 9,000 hectares, destroying 71 homes. Six firefighters have suffered injuries.
Wildfires – Australia
An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed at least 59 homes and was threatening more Tuesday, with many residents across the region told it is too late to leave.
The 7,000-hectare (17,000-acre) blaze, which has a 80-kilometer (50-mile) perimeter, began on Monday and raged through the night near the town of Wooroloo, with the shires of Mundaring, Chittering, Northam, and the city of Swan affected.
Wildfires Decline Globally
The dystopian images of wildfires ravaging vast swathes of woodland around the globe belie a rare positive signal for the Earth’s climate — the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by burning forests actually fell in 2020.
That’s the conclusion of atmospheric scientists at the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. They use satellites to take pictures and collect air-quality data from hotspots around the world. Despite this year’s widely-shared images of the raging infernos, which disrupted economies from Australia to the US west coast to Siberia, the amount of land that went up in flames declined. While areas such as the Arctic Circle and western United States suffered wildfires of unprecedented intensity and emissions, 2020 was one of the lowest years for active fires at the global scale.
Wildfires – Australia
Up to eleven buildings, including at least two houses, are believed to have been damaged as a bushfire continues to burn out-of-control in the hills southeast of Adelaide. More than 400 firefighters were working to control the blaze, which has burned more than 2,500 hectares of land and has recorded a fire perimeter of 24km.
South Australia’s Department for Health and Wellbeing has also issued a warning about smoke across the the state caused by the bushfires in Cherry Gardens.
Wildfires – Colorado, USA
A wind-driven wildfire is burning in southeastern Colorado near Fort Lyon, which has been evacuated. The fire is approximately 80% contained and is estimated to be between 3,000 and 4,000 acres. The fire is burning in the John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Wildfires – California, USA
Evacuation orders have been lifted for a community in California’s San Jacinto Mountains that was threatened by a wildfire. Residents in Mountain Center were told to leave their homes after a wildfire broke out in dry, windy conditions early Friday morning. The fire had burned about 1 square mile and was 20% contained.