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‘Major incident’ declared over wildfire in Northern Ireland

Algeria wildfire kills two

Wild Fire Alert

A wildfire has killed two people west of the Algerian capital, the emergency services said Saturday, one of a spate of seasonal blazes to hit the north African country.

Nearby residents were evacuated from their homes after the fire swept through forest near the coastal city of Tipaza trapping and killing two men in a chicken coop.

More than 50 additional firefighters were dispatched from Algiers to help tackle the blaze which broke out on Friday night.

Over the past 24 hours, fires have been reported in northern Algeria in 10 of the country’s 58 provinces.

Already in September, authorities in Tipaza announced their worst year for wildfires since 2010, with nearly 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of forest or crops destroyed.

Every year, Algeria loses up to one percent of its vegetation to seasonal wildfires, according to the forestry department.

Last year, it lost 21,048 hectares (more than 52,000 acres) between June 1 and October 31.

Courtesy of macaubusiness.com

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60,000 to evacuate after wildfire grows in Southern California, USA

Wild Fire Alert

A fast-moving wildfire has forced evacuations for 60,000 people in Southern California as powerful winds across the state prompted power to be cut to hundreds of thousands to prevent utility equipment from sparking new blazes. The smoky fire in Orange County broke out just before 7 a.m. Monday and quickly threatened neighborhoods in Irvine, a sprawling city of about 280,000 people. California is extremely dry and fire danger is high as the state experiences winds that are gusting above 60 mph (97mph) in places. Such winds can knock down power lines and send tree branches into wires, sparking fires. It’s not clear what started the Orange County fire.

Courtesy of wdef.com

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Wildfires and droughts devastate South American biodiversities

Wild Fire Alert

Under stress from a historic drought, large swathes of forest and wetlands in central South America known for their exceptional biodiversity have been ravaged by devastating fires.

Experts on Friday said wildfires in a region that spans Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, especially the region between the Paraguay, Parana and Uruguay rivers, have become critical in 2020.

“There has been a dramatic increase in fires. In Argentina there has been an increase of around 170 percent, it’s very serious,” said Elisabeth Mohle, an environmental politics researcher at Argentina’s San Martin National University (UNSM).

She says it’s part of a wider problem affecting multiple regions around the world this year, including in Brazil’s Amazonas state, Australia, California, and the Gran Chaco, South America’s second largest forest after the Amazon.

The Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands that span Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, is experiencing its worst drought in 47 years.

The Parana river, one of the most powerful on the planet that originates in Brazil and empties into the River Plate estuary, is at its lowest level since 1970.

In August it was down to 80-centimetres in Rosario, eastern Argentina, rather than the usual 3-4 meters for that time of year.

It’s the same thing with the Paraguay river that is at its lowest level “in half a century,” according to Paraguay’s national weather center in Asuncion.

The fires are being fanned by ideal conditions, including strong winds, temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius and the dry season in which farmers use slash-and-burn techniques to try to regenerate the soil.

In Paraguay, “the fires … at the end of September and first week of October, broke all records,” Eduardo Mingo, a top official at the national weather center, told AFP.

The number of fires were up 46 percent in 2020, according to authorities.

Paraguay’s capital Asuncion and several towns in northeastern Argentina and southern Brazil spent days and even weeks submerged under a thick fog due to the intense fires.

And without the usual rainfall that moistens the soil, the wetlands have been particularly badly affected.

Images from the Brazilian Pantanal of the charred carcases of birds, snakes, caimans and trees have shocked the world.

A quarter of the area was devastated between January and September, while the Paraguayan Pantanal had already been badly affected by fires in 2019.

The Parana Delta that is home to species such as the jaguar, Pampas cat and several rodents, has been hit by fires of an unprecedented intensity since January, leaving a “desert of ashes” over tens of thousands of hectares of wetlands.

“Reptiles, migratory birds, small mammals and tortoises have died,” Cesar Massi, a naturalist in Argentina’s Santa Fe province, told AFP.

“I remember that during the last drought in 2008, there were fires. But this year they’ve been stronger, more intense and lasted longer.”

Agriculture is a massive source of income for the countries in this region but the slash-and-burn techniques used aggravate the situation.

In the north of Argentina “despite Covid-19 restrictions, between March 15 and September 30… twice the area of Buenos Aires was deforested,” according to Greenpeace.

The Mighty Earth NGO says that Paraguay’s dry forests are “one of the main sites of deforestation in the world, mostly due to the expansion of pastureland and more recently soyabean plantations.”

Argentina’s government has accused cattle farmers of setting fires to “increase pastureland area” in the Parana Delta.

One problem is that NGOs don’t have the necessary funding from governments to enforce rules and instigate large restoration or protection projects.

“The provincial government has less and less of a budget for prevention, there are no surveillance posts, the environmental police have been disassembled,” Alfredo Leytes, a member of the Ambiente en Lucha environmental collective based in Cordoba, Argentina, told AFP.

In Brazil “there has been a 58 percent decrease in ‘Brigadistas’ contracts,” said Alica Thuault from the Centro de Vida institute, referring to the volunteers that mobilized to tackle fires. She attributes blame firmly at the feet of President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic.

Mohle wants different players, including farmers and ecologists, to work together “to regulate the use of land to ensure a more sustainable development than currently exists.”

Courtesy of trtworld.com

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In Syria, the promising olive harvest, destroyed by fires

Wild Fire Alert

Souheil Dib was eagerly awaiting the harvest of olives from his farm in Tartus, in western Syria, but fires have destroyed entire areas of Syria in recent days, leaving the branches of his olive trees charred.

61-year-old Dib inspects each branch of these trees inherited from his father for the slightest sign of life, but they all snap in his hands.

“It had a hundred trees,” he says resigned. “I have never seen a fire like it in my life.”

Favored by high temperatures, some 150 fire outbreaks broke out at dawn on Friday in the coastal provinces of Tartus and Latakia (west) as well as Homs (center), destroying more than 9,000 hectares of agricultural land, forests, orchards and olive groves , according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).

Three people died in Latakia, according to the health ministry, and 25,000 people have been evacuated in the three provinces, according to Ocha.

Authorities announced Sunday that they had controlled the fire. On Monday, the layer of ash that covered the disaster area was still smoky and the surrounding mountains were huge charred surfaces.

With the economic crisis that the country is suffering after more than nine years of war, Souheil Dib had this year on the harvest to guarantee its needs for oil and olives.

“Our hopes were placed on this season to compensate for our successive losses (…) The olives were already ripe and fat and if it had not been for these fires we would be preparing today to harvest them”, laments this man who has spent his life taking care of these trees.

Courtesy of web24.news

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Fire on Mount Kilimanjaro seen for miles as crews and locals battle to contain flames

Fire breaks out on Mount Kilimanjaro. Pic: @TZParks / Tanaznia National Park

Twitter: Photo By @TZParks

Firefighters are trying to contain a blaze which broke out on Mount Kilimanjaro, according to local authorities.

Tanzania’s National Parks service (TANAPA) has said: “The fire is still going on and firefighters from TANAPA, other government institutions and locals are continuing with the efforts to contain it.”

Efforts first began when the fire broke out in the late afternoon on Sunday.

TANAPA tweeted a photo which appeared to show the the mountain with numerous pockets of flames burning on it.

Local media reported that communities living nearby attempted to put the fire out, but the altitude of where the flames broke out made this difficult.

It has also been said that the flames could be seen from Moshi town, which is around 19 miles (30km) away from the mountain and known as a gateway to Kilimanjaro National Park.

The cause of the fire has not been established.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa, and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, at nearly 6,000m (20,000ft) above sea level.

An estimated 50,000 tourists climb the mountain annually.

Courtesy of Sky News

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Hundreds of dead cattle due to drought and fires in Formosa, Argentina

Livestock Alert

The town of San Martín 2 is suffering the effects of the drought, in addition to human irresponsibility and strong winds.

The consequences: kilometers of burned fields were lamented, deaths of cattle and small livestock, as well as vehicles, fences and tools that were consumed by the fire.

The mayor of San Martín 2, Luis Rivero, from the Patiño department, commented that the fire that almost entered the downtown area could be contained thanks to the joint work between the police and the people.

Courtesy of elnueve.com.ar

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