Archive | January 16, 2014

Wildfire Is Burning Out Of Control In California, America
Fire Alert
Homes burned in a wildfire threatening neighborhoods in dangerously dry foothills of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains on Thursday, fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds that spit embers into the city below. Residents who awakened in the pre-dawn darkness to see flames approaching were ordered to evacuate.
Television images showed several structures engulfed in flames in a neighborhood abutting Angeles National Forest, just north of the San Gabriel Valley community of Glendora. Homes are nestled in canyons and among rugged ridges that made an accurate assessment difficult.
At least 125 acres of dry brush was charred in the wilderness area about 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Police said they questioned three persons of interest detained near Colby Trail, where the fire was believed to have started. Sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Roth stressed that they were not suspects.
The notorious Santa Anas, linked to the spread of Southern California’s worst wildfires, picked up at daybreak. The extremely dry Santa Anas blow downslope and can push fires out of the mountains and into communities below. The area, which has been historically dry, has been buffeted by the winds which have raised temperatures into the 80s. The Santa Anas typically begin in the fall and last through winter into spring. A wet winter reduces fire risk, but the whole state is experiencing historically dry conditions.
TV news helicopters spotted embers igniting palm trees in residential yards as firefighters with hoses beat back flames lapping at the edges of homes.
Glendora police said officers were going door to door ordering residents of the city of 50,000 to leave. Citrus College, located in the heart of Glendora, canceled classes for the day.
Several schools were closed. The Glendora Unified School District closed Goddard Middle School, which was being used as a fire department command post. District spokeswoman Michelle Hunter said 900 students attend the school, which is near the fire and within the evacuation area.
More than 500 firefighters were on the scene. The Los Angeles County Fire Department deployed seven engines and three helicopters to the fire, which was reported around 5:50 a.m. (PST) and was growing rapidly. Officials added to the firefighting aircraft with a water-dropping Super Scooper plane.
Ash rained down on the city, said Jonathan Lambert, 31, general manager of Classic Coffee.
“We’re underneath a giant cloud of smoke,” he said. “It’s throwing quite the eerie shadow over a lot of Glendora.”
Resident Eric Black told KCAL-TV that he is preparing to evacuate, but he’s going to try to protect his home.
“We’re loading up the motorhome right now. If we need to go, we’ll go.” Black told the station. He had been using his garden hose to wet the brush around his house. “I’m going to stay as long as I can to try to protect.”
The last catastrophic fire in the San Gabriel Mountains broke out in 2009 and burned for months. The flames blackened 250 square miles, killed two firefighters and destroyed 209 structures, including 89 homes.
California is in a historically dry era and winter has brought no relief.
Red flag warnings for critical fire weather conditions were posted from Santa Barbara County south through Los Angeles to the U.S.-Mexico border, along the spine of the Sierra Nevada, and in areas east and north of San Francisco Bay.
Fires that struck windy areas of the state earlier in the week were quickly quashed by large deployments of firefighters, aircraft and other equipment before the flames could be stoked by gusts into major conflagrations.
Large parts of Southern California below mountain passes, canyons and foothills have been buffeted all week by the region’s notorious Santa Ana winds.
Spawned by surface high pressure over the interior of the West, the Santa Anas form as the cold air flows toward Southern California, then speeds up and warms as it descends in a rush toward the coast. Some of the most extreme gusts reported by the National Weather Service topped 70 mph.
These offshore winds also raise temperatures to summerlike levels. Many areas have enjoyed temperatures well into the 80s.
California is also under the influence of a persistent upper-level ridge of high pressure anchored off its north coast that has also kept the region generally warm, dry and clear.

Spectacular Neon Blue Lava Pours From Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen Volcano At Night

blue lava

You’ve heard of “red hot” and “white hot” to describe searing temperatures. But what about “blue hot”?

That’s the surreal hue of Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen Volcano, which glows with an otherworldly “blue lava” at night. The mountain contains large amounts of pure sulfur, which emits an icy violet color as it burns, turning the rocky slopes into a hot (at least 239 degrees Fahrenheit), highly toxic environment.

Despite the dangers, photographer Olivier Grunewald captured the scene, along with a group of men who toil on the volcano at night, battling noxious gases to mine sulfur from the crater and carry it out by hand.

Miners carry between 176 and 220 pounds of sulfur chunks per trip and sell the pieces for around 2.5 cents per pound. Yahoo reports they average two loads every 24 hours, thereby doubling their salaries amid sulfurous flames that can reach 16 feet high.

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Landslides Strike 3 Roads In Malaysia

The Public Works Department (PWD) had mobilised its personnel swiftly to repair the damage caused by landslides in Tamparuli, Tambunan and Kokol in Menggatal yesterday.


According to PWD director Datuk John Anthony, all the roads except Kokol Road are expected to be passable by the evening yesterday.


John, when contacted yesterday, said that the most serious damage reported was along Kokol Road where four sections of the road were affected by landslides.


“The most severe damage was at Km 12.5, Kokol Road and we expect to complete repairing it by tomorrow,” he said.


PWD, he added, is now working on widening the Jalan Tamparuli Kiulu as a landslide had occurred at Km 6.1.


The road widening will be carried out on the hill side, he said, adding that PWD expected the work to be completed by 6pm yesterday.


“The road was not damaged, it was just earth and vegetation from the slope. 


Clearing work has been done and the road is expected to be passable by evening,” he added.


PWD, he said, will be on the alert for similar occurrence in view of the wet spell the state is experiencing now.


Meanwhile, a landslide at Km 48 of the Kota Kinabalu-Penampang-Tambunan road made the road impassable to motorists from both sides.


Many motorists coming from Tambunan and Donggongon directions were forced to turn back and take another route, while some motorists were determined to wait until the road was cleared of soil and tree branches.


Uji Anjim, 33, an employee doing road maintenance work for a contractor nearby, said the landslide occurred around 8.30am yesterday at Km 37 from Donggongon town near Gerai Makan Simpang Tudan, Kampung Tudan.


It was fortunate that no vehicles were hit by the landslide.


The PWD immediately instructed the contractor to clear the soil from the road.

At 1pm, several excavators arrived at the site and started working. One lane was cleared and made passable to motorists at 3pm yesterday. By 6pm, both lanes were cleared of soil and traffic movement was restored.


Meanwhile, John told reporters in Sandakan during an inspection of the damage at Jalan Bokara-Batu Sapi near Taman Poh Hing that PWD had appointed a temporary contractor to maintain the road after the original contractor failed to do so although an extension of time was given from October last year.


“The contractor failed to maintain the road as instructed and we had to terminate the contact and appoint a new contractor,” he said, adding that the temporary contractor started the maintenance work last Monday.

Heavy Rainfall Triggers Unexpected Landslides In Brunei

HEAVY rainfall over the past few days have triggered landslides in several parts of the country, cutting off access to some roads and affecting a number of houses.

Landslides damaged roads and houses in the residential area of Kampung Lugu in Brunei-Muara, while another road in the district leading to the moon sighting location near Bukit Shahbandar in Kampung Jerudong was left with a massive hole measuring roughly 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

The development minister yesterday called the incidents “strongly exceptional” as they had occurred in areas where landslides were previously unheard of.

During a site inspection in Kg Lugu, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman told state broadcaster Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) that areas affected by landslides will receive technical assistance and appropriate relief efforts.

Following the unexpected occurrences of landslides, the minister advised the public as well as motorists to exercise caution in adverse weather conditions.

The public were also urged to report further landslides to the relevant authorities.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi added that the Ministry of Development and the Public Works Department (PWD) will continue to cooperate with the public with regards the landslide incidents.

A total of 936 landslides were recorded from 2008 to 2013 with Brunei-Muara accounting for 80 per cent of the cases, according to statistics from the Public Works Department.

Defined as movement of a mass of rock, debris or earth down a slope, landslides can be caused by a variety of external stimulus, including intense rainfall, earthquake tremors and rapid riverbank erosion, which are worsened by development into steep and unstable slopes.

Human activities, such as deforestation and excavation of slopes for road cuts and building sites, have been identified as important triggers for landslide occurrence.

No known fatalities related to landslides have been reported in Brunei, however, a study by Durham University found that an estimated 32,300 people have died in landslides between 2004 and 2010 across the world.

Dozens Believed Buried By Landslide In Indonesia

Landslide Alert

Dozens of people are believed to have been buried by a landslide in North Sulawesi on Wednesday.

They sought shelter from the heavy rains at a house located on the section of the Tomohon-Manado Road when the landslide buried the house, a source stated.

“The land where the house was constructed suddenly slid down a 50-meter deep ravine. Dozens of people were dragged away and buried by the landslide,” noted a local resident, Nelson Uada, whose 70-year-old father, Luade Uada, was among the victim of the disaster.

Only Laude Uada managed to survive the landslide, he claimed.

“About 12 to 15 people had taken shelter at the house when the landslide occurred,” Nelson said.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Bethesda hospital compound in Tomohon, as they await news on people trapped in the landslide.


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 3212 km SW of Maseru, Lesotho / pop: 118,355 / local time: 23:38:01.0 2014-01-16
3596 km S of Windhoek, Namibia / pop: 268,132 / local time: 23:38:01.0 2014-01-16
3601 km SW of Pretoria, South Africa / pop: 1,619,438 / local time: 23:38:01.0 2014-01-16

Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km
Distances: Latitude, Longitude 27.6781 -17.9381 

Foto Detalle


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 3213 km SW of Maseru, Lesotho / pop: 118,355 / local time: 22:02:45.0 2014-01-16
3603 km SW of Pretoria, South Africa / pop: 1,619,438 / local time: 22:02:45.0 2014-01-16
3604 km S of Windhoek, Namibia / pop: 268,132 / local time: 22:02:45.0 2014-01-16

Global viewRegional view







***BE ALERT***