Firefighters used water-carrying planes on Saturday as they battled to control a wildfire in Spain’s Costa Brava region that has forced 350 people to be evacuated from their homes, the regional fire service said.
The blaze, which police think was caused by a discarded cigarette, tore through more than 400 hectares (about 1,000 acres) of forest and scrubland on the edge of the Cap de Creus natural park, a popular tourist area.
“We’re trying to bring the fire under control at the moment using six aircraft, which are pouring water onto the flames and 90 fire crews on the ground,” said Sergi Palacios from the Catalan regional government’s fire service.
Video images shot by firefighters showed them clambering across the rocky terrain as they worked in the darkness to tackle the fire, which started on Friday.
More than 231 people had to seek shelter overnight in temporary accommodation offered by the local council in El Port de la Selva district.
Police said anyone found responsible for causing the fire by throwing away a smouldering cigarette could face criminal charges.
“One negligent cigarette butt is 50 years of reforestation,” Jordi Puignero, vice president of the Catalan regional government, told reporters.
Courtesy of reuters.com
The nearly 11,000-acre Elbow Creek Fire in northeast Oregon continues to be pushed by erratic winds and hot temperatures, challenging firefighters as the fire burns primarily to the east and west, with some growth to the north, officials said Saturday as Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Conflagration Act to bring in more outside resources..
The fire is located in the Grande Ronde River drainage near Mud Springs, about 30 miles southeast of Walla Walla, Wash.
Here’s the rest of Saturday morning’s update from the Oregon Department of Forestry:
Helicopters and air tankers worked to slow the spread of the fire to the north and south yesterday, while crews aided in structure protection. Firefighters also worked the northwest side of the fire to keep the fire from spreading into Elbow Creek and progressing further through the Grande Ronde River drainage. Support from heavy airtankers aided in limiting the fire spread on the south on private ownership and firefighters were able to hold the fire last night north of Sickfoot Road.
Based on infrared mapping, the fire is estimated to be 10,941 acres in size, and remains at 0% containment.
Today, suppression activities are focused on holding the fire in the Wildcat Creek area on the east side and protecting structures at risk. Additionally, firefighters are establishing anchor points and scouting opportunities to build containment lines to the west side of the fire near Elbow Creek. Where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, firefighters continue working to build line construction and limit the fire spread on private ownership to the south, utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread.
The Elbow Creek Fire was reported on Thursday and is burning on both sides of the Grande Ronde River and is on or threatening Umatilla National Forest lands, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands, Vale District Bureau of Land Management lands and Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Numerous resources are aiding in firefighting efforts, including landowners, private operators, and various federal and state resources (hand crews, dozers, multiple engines, and water tenders). The fire is currently being staffed by a Type 3 Northeast Oregon Interagency Management Team. The agencies will inbrief the Oregon Department of Forestry Team 3 Type 1 Incident Management Team led by Link Smith today at 5 p.m. at the Wallowa High School and the team is anticipated to take command of the fire tomorrow.
The conflagration request sent by Wallowa County Fire Defense Board Chief, Paul Karvoski, to the Governor’s Office has been approved and additional resources are en route to support structure protection work with suppression efforts. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office is surging resources to assist the local fire agencies.
Wallowa County has updated evacuation information. Additional information regarding evacuations is available through the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 426-3131 or by monitoring the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook.
Closures are also in place surrounding the fire. Due to fire activity on both sides of the Grande Ronde River corridor, the river is closed at Minam State Park. Any rafters that arrive into the fire area will be safely evacuated in coordination with Wallowa County Search and Rescue. Due to extreme wildfire activity and the concern for the safety of the public the entirety of the Umatilla National Forest has been temporarily closed.
Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at EXTREME.
Courtesy of ktvz.com
Five people have died after a blaze erupted at the headquarters the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine manufacturer. Huge plumes of smoke were seen today billowing from the Serum Institute of India (SII) complex, in the western city of Pune. The site is producing millions of doses of the Covishield Covid vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. It is not known what caused the blaze, which was brought under control after about three hours but is still not fully extinguished.
The SII have said the production of the vaccine would not be affected by the blaze. Pune’s police department tweeted: ‘We mourn the unfortunate demise of the five people.’ The force said it would ‘conduct a thorough screening of the premises once the fire is doused’.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: ‘Anguished by the loss of lives due to an unfortunate fire at the @SerumInstIndia ‘In this sad hour, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest.’ The Maharashtra government said the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault during construction work. SII is manufacturing a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for India and many other low- and middle-income countries. The company is also getting ready to produce a vaccine being developed by the U.S. company Novavax Inc.
SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla tweeted: ‘I would like to reassure all governments & the public that there would be no loss of COVISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies.’ Poonawalla, whose family owns SII told media the fire would mean delays in launching new products and revenue losses of more than 10 billion rupees (£100million), adding that equipment worth millions of dollars has been damaged. But a source familiar with the matter said manufacturing of Covid-19 shots would not be affected and that none of the new production equipment for vaccines was housed in the building that caught fire. The company announced a compensation of 2.5 million rupees (£25,000) for families of the people who died at the ‘under-installation facility’.
This month Indian regulators approved two vaccines, Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad. India launched one of the world’s largest vaccine rollouts on Saturday, with the aim of inoculating 300million people by July. The country exported its first batch of the Covishield vaccine on Wednesday, to Bhutan and the Maldives. It has also sent 2million doses to Bangladesh and 1million to Nepal. India plans to offer 20million doses to neighbouring countries in South Asia, followed by Latin America, Africa and Central Asia.
Courtesy of metro.co.uk
At least three people have died and six others were injured after an “extremely loud” explosion destroyed a residential building belonging to the Catholic Church in Madrid’s city centre.
The blast happened near a nursing home and a school – and videos and images shared on social media showed rubble scattered in the street.
The city’s mayor said early information indicated the blast was caused by a gas leak, and confirmed that one of the bodies has been discovered under the rubble. Someone was working on a boiler at the time.
Two people have been transferred to hospital for further treatment – and one of them is in a serious condition with a head injury.
Rescue teams, firefighters and police are all at the scene.
Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said there was an ongoing fire in the six-storey building devastated by the blast.
It was a complex that provided residential training for priests and also gave meals to homeless people, a neighbour said.
The mayor said a nearby school had suffered minor damage.
The school was believed to be empty at the time, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on 9 January.
All nursing home residents were safe and evacuated, according to police sources.
The mayor said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street.
A witness, Leire Reparaz, said she heard a loud explosion a few minutes before 3pm local time as she headed to her home near the Puerta de Toledo landmark.
She told the AP news agency: “We didn’t know where the sound came from. We all thought it was from the school.
“We went up the stairs to the top of our building and we could see the structure of the building and lots of grey smoke.”
Another witness, Tania Tapia, said: “Suddenly there was a brutal explosion behind my back and that pushed me forward.
“I didn’t know where it came from, my ears were ringing so I turned around and I saw a lot of smoke and the sidewalk full of debris.”
The explosion happened in Toledo Street. Footage on Twitter showed smoke coming from the building, a number of wrecked cars and debris strewn in the road.
A police spokeswoman said the area was being evacuated but could not confirm the cause of the explosion.
Courtesy of Sky News