Firefighters Battle New Blaze In California

 

Hundreds of California firefighters on Tuesday battled a wind-driven brush fire that grew out of control overnight near Santa Barbara, threatening thousands of homes and prompting evacuation orders.

The so-called “Cave Fire” that started on Monday in Los Padres National Forest, grew to nearly 4,300 acres (1,740 hectares) overnight as it moved toward populated areas in the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta and nearby communities about a two hours’ drive north of Los Angeles.

Some 600 firefighters were battling the blaze that prompted evacuation orders for about 2,300 homes, or nearly 5,500 people.

Fire officials said helicopters and fixed-wing planes were assisting the firefighters who faced steep, rugged terrain.

“The Cave Fire is burning under some of the toughest firefighting conditions anywhere in the world,” said Los Padres National Forest Fire Chief Jimmy Harris.

“We’ve experienced several offshore wind events at this point, and that has just dried the fuel bed out to the point where we’re seeing the fire behaviour we saw last night.”

He said the blaze was all the more challenging for firefighters as high winds were pushing the flames downhill and then back uphill.

Authorities said the fire, the cause of which was unknown, was zero per cent contained by midday Tuesday but they were hopeful that a storm set to arrive in the area later in the day would help extinguish the flames.

While the rain could bring much-needed relief for firefighters, officials warned that it may also prompt flash floods and debris flows.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said that about 4,000 people who were forced to evacuate would be allowed back into their homes Tuesday afternoon.

The blaze comes on the heels of a series of major fires that erupted in the state last month destroying homes and vineyards and forcing thousands of people to flee.

PHOTOS: Lagos Govt Demolishes Building Affected By Fire In Balogun Market

The five-storey building razed by fire at Balogun Market in Lagos Island has been demolished.

The demolition began after fire fighters completely put out the fire on Wednesday morning.

This demolitions follows the directive given by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during his earlier visit to the scene.

Structures beside the detected building will also undergo integrity test to determine their fitness and to ascertain if they will be demolished as well.

Makeshift shops close to the affected buildings have also be sealed by government agency to allow smooth operation by the government agencies.

 RELATED:

We Will Provide Relief Packages For Lagos Market Fire Victims – Sanwo-Olu

 Firefighters Battle Lagos Market Fire One Day After

The busy Balogun market was met with panic after a fire outbreak at a high rise building located in the market on Tuesday.

The fire which started in the morning destroyed goods worth millions of naira. A police officer was also reported killed while on duty at the scene. The officer died after a section of the burnt building caved in during rescue operation.

Some traders salvaged their goods while others lamented the havoc wreaked by the fire.

See photos below…

PHOTOS: Firefighters Battle Lagos Market Fire One Day After

A day after the fire outbreak at the Balogun market, in Lagos Island, firefighters are still at the scene of the incident trying to put out the fire completely.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) told Channels Television that petrol chemical substances and the fabric materials stored in one of the buildings continue to trigger flames, thereby stretching emergency operations.

READ ALSO: Balogun Market Fire: Sanwoolu Visits Scene As Emergency Operation Continues

Emergency management officials are also scene with heavy duty cranes and equipment spraying water into the areas where smoke and fire is being detected.

The Tuesday morning fire got the attention of the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who visited the scene on Wednesday and directed that integrity test be carried out on all the affected buildings.

A police officer was also reported killed while on duty at the scene. The officer died late last night after a section of the burnt building caved in during rescue operation.

Traders in the market are counting their losses as they say goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed.

See photos below…

Evacuations As Wildfire Breaks Out In Los Angeles

Firefighters hose down a house burning in the Getty Fire on October 28, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Reported at 1:30 a.m., the fire quickly burned 600 acres and several homes and forced evacuations in an area near the Getty Center. PHOTO: David McNew/Getty Images/AFP

More than 1,000 firefighters battled a wind-driven blaze Monday that broke out near the renowned Getty Center in Los Angeles, prompting widespread evacuations as the flames destroyed several homes and forced the shutdown of schools and roads.

The so-called Getty Fire ignited overnight near a major freeway and quickly spread south and west towards neighborhoods, scorching some 600 acres (240 hectares) and sending people fleeing in the dark.

By Monday afternoon, fire crews had slowed the pace of the blaze and were racing to contain it before strong winds hit the region again Tuesday evening through Thursday.

Authorities said some 1,100 firefighters were battling an inferno that threatened 10,000 structures, many of them multi-million dollar homes.

Among those forced to flee was Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who tweeted that he and his family had evacuated his home in the upscale neighborhood of Brentwood during the night.

“Man these LA fires aren’t no joke,” he said. “Had to emergency evacuate my house and I’ve been driving around with my family trying to get rooms. No luck so far!”

He later tweeted that he had found a place to stay.

Arnold Schwarzenegger also said on Monday that he had to flee.

“We evacuated safely at 3:30 this morning,” the actor and former California governor tweeted. “If you are in an evacuation zone, don’t screw around. Get out.”

Monday night’s red carpet premiere in Los Angeles of “Terminator: Dark Fate,” starring Schwarzenegger, was canceled because of the fire.

“We will be donating food intended for the after-party to the American Red Cross, which is serving those affected by the fires,” Paramount said in a statement.

The Getty Center, which is home to a priceless art collection, said none of the pieces were under threat from the flames, notably because the building is designed to be fire resistant.

“Many have asked about the art — it is protected by state-of-the-art technology,” the museum said in a tweet.

The Getty Fire broke out as California has been dealing with a number of wildfires that have ignited throughout the state in the last week, forcing massive evacuations and power cuts.

– ‘We are devastated’ –

California’s governor declared a statewide emergency on Sunday as a wind-driven fire in the Sonoma wine region north of San Francisco spread out of control, forcing tens of thousands to flee.

The Kincade Fire, which erupted last Wednesday and is the largest so far this year, had spread to more than 66,000 acres — or more than 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) — by Monday afternoon and was only 15 percent contained.

Firefighters have also been battling a number of additional fires fed by strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures.

Residents who fled the Kincade Fire recalled hasty departures as they waited it out in the safety of a community center in Petaluma, California.

“The police came with loudspeakers. We weren’t expecting it,” said Kathy Amundson, who fled with her wheelchair-bound 90-year-old mother Joy.

“We smelled smoke, we couldn’t see it,” she said. “Looks like our home is safe but the fear is wind blowing embers and then it starts new fires.”

Others were not so lucky. The fire has destroyed dozens of homes and vineyards, including the renowned 150-year-old Soda Rock Winery.

– Dangerous fuel –

Authorities said more than 3,000 firefighters and responders were battling the Kincade Fire, which was not expected to be fully contained before November 7.

Firefighters are struggling to prevent the flames from spreading west toward areas that have not experienced fires since the 1940s and where the vegetation is dense and dry, providing dangerous fuel.

An estimated 180,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders, including parts of the city of Santa Rosa and a large swath of Sonoma County extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Nearly 80,000 structures are threatened, according to the county sheriff’s office.

In a bid to reduce the risk of fire, California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., has been turning off power to hundreds of thousands of customers across northern and central California.

PG&E has come under intense scrutiny after it emerged that one of its transmission lines may have played a role in the Kincade Fire.

The same type of line was responsible for California’s deadliest-ever wildfire — last year’s Camp Fire, which killed 86 people.

PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, has been blamed for several other fires in the state in recent years.

Firefighters Continue Rescue Efforts, Prevent Spread Of Lagos Factory Fire

Firefighters in Lagos on Sunday continued rescue efforts at a warehouse in Oba Akran, Ikeja Industrial Estate.

The fire was contained by men of the Lagos State Fire Service and officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) who intervened to forestall reignition and spread to neighbouring buildings.

The inferno broke out around 2:00 pm on Saturday and completely razed the warehouse owned by Godrej Nigeria Limited.

The warehouse contained finished products including hair extensions and cosmetics.

READ ALSO: Fire Guts Godrej Factory In Lagos

Emergency workers during rescue efforts on Saturday experienced difficulty in gaining access to some areas in the factory which ended up seriously affected by the fire.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined but eyewitnesses assume that it started from the drivers’ unit which shares a wall with the warehouse for finished goods.

See photos below…

Over 6,000 Firefighters Battling Southern California Blaze

A helicopter drops water to a brush fire at the Holy Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, southeast of Los Angeles, on August 11, 2018. The fire has burned 21,473 acres and was 29 percent contained as of 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Cleveland National Forest. PHOTO: RINGO CHIU / AFP

 

Thousands of firefighters were battling one of the most destructive wildfires in California’s history on Monday as it crept relentlessly up the Pacific coast and forced new evacuations.

As a wildfire near Los Angeles was brought under control, fire crews were being redeployed to battle the Thomas Fire northwest of America’s second-largest city.

Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were assisting nearly 6,400 firefighters trying to keep the Thomas Fire away from beachfront towns south of the historic city of Santa Barbara, the California Fire Department (Cal Fire) said.

“Gusty northeast winds will cause the fire to threaten areas of the city of Santa Barbara,” which has a population of 91,000, Cal Fire said.

Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Los Angeles, said he did not see any immediate respite to the dry, windy conditions that are fueling the blaze.

“The conditions are very critical,” Boldt said. “Given that we don’t see any precipitation for the next two weeks at minimum, it could become the largest fire in the state’s history.”

The Thomas Fire has burned 230,500 acres (93,300 hectares) since it erupted a week ago, Cal Fire said, making it the fifth-largest fire in the state’s history. It was only 15 percent contained as of early afternoon Monday.

The blaze spread over the weekend in the mostly uninhabited Los Padres National Forest, and was threatening the coastal towns of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.

Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for the inland cities of Ojai and Santa Paula in Ventura County, which has been the hardest hit by the Thomas Fire.

Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was among those preparing to flee her beachfront home.

“Our house is under threat of being burned,” DeGeneres said on Twitter. “We just had to evacuate our pets.

“I’m praying for everyone in our community and thankful to all the incredible firefighters.”

“Praying for my town,” actor Rob Lowe, a Santa Barbara County resident, wrote on Twitter. Fires closing in. Firefighters making brave stands. Could go either way. Packing to evacuate now.”

‘New normal’

May Osher, a 66-year-old retired schoolteacher in Carpinteria, told the Los Angeles Times she had put photo albums and pet supplies in her car and was ready to evacuate if told to do so.

“I’m staying until it’s time to go,” Osher told the newspaper.

Cal Fire said 800 buildings have been destroyed by the fire, which is being fueled by tinder dry brush and strong and unpredictable Santa Ana winds.

Despite the intensity of the fires stretching from north of Los Angeles down to San Diego, authorities have reported only one fatality — a 70-year-old woman who died in a car crash while fleeing a blaze.

California Governor Jerry Brown has warned that climate change meant the state was becoming increasingly vulnerable and wildfires were becoming the “new normal.”

“The fire season used to be a few months in the summer,” Brown said. “Now it’s almost year-long.”

Brown has been one of the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris accord on global warming, and he renewed his attacks on the administration over its attitude toward climate change.

“Nature is not a political game. Nature is the ground on which we stand, it’s the air which we breathe,” he said.

“The truth of the case is that there’s too much carbon being emitted, that heat-trapping gasses are building up, the planet is warming and all hell is breaking loose.”

This has been California’s deadliest year ever for wildfires. More than 40 people died in October when fires swept through the state’s wine-producing counties north of San Francisco.

Trump has issued a state of emergency for California, authorizing the release of federal funds.

The White House said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue briefed the president and Vice President Mike Pence on the response to the wildfires and prevention efforts.

AFP

Firefighters Tackle Blaze At London Hotel

Firefighters Tackle Blaze At London Hotel
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in central London on June 6, 2018. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

A fire broke out at London’s Mandarin Oriental hotel on Tuesday, with dozens of firefighters deployed to tackle the blaze that pumped smoke high into the air over the British capital.

The fire brigade said “around 100 firefighters are tackling a large fire at a hotel of 12 floors in Knightsbridge”, a luxury area of central London where Harrods department store is located.

The fire service said the blaze was “producing a lot of smoke” and was “very visible” and its cause “is not known at this stage”.

Firefighters were called to the fire at 1455 GMT.

Contacted by AFP, the Mandarin Oriental press service could not be reached.

Roads were closed off at Scotch Corner and Hyde Park Corner, busy junctions near the hotel — an Edwardian-style building that opened its doors in 1902 and was bought by Mandarin Oriental in 1996.

The hotel has 198 rooms and suites.

Indonesia Oil Well Explosion Kills 15, Injures Dozens

Firefighters work near the site of a fire at an oil well in Peureulak, Indonesia’s Aceh province on April 25, 2018. At least 10 people have been killed and dozens more injured after a fire at an illegal oil well in Indonesia’s Aceh province, authorities said on April 25. ILYAS ISMAIL / AFP

 

The death toll from an illegal oil well blaze in Indonesia has jumped to 15 with dozens injured, authorities said Wednesday, warning that there could be more victims of the explosion.

Images from the accident showed a towering flame shooting some 70 metres (230 feet) in the air above homes and palm trees dotting a small community in Sumatra island’s Aceh province.

Firefighters on Wednesday afternoon were still battling the blaze sparked by an oil spill at about 1:30 am (1830 GMT Tuesday) in a residential area. Several homes were also destroyed.

“The number of fatalities now stands at 15 people,” said Syahrizal Fauzi, head of the local disaster mitigation agency.

“We’re still unable to control the fire. We don’t know if there are still victims because we cannot get any closer.”

Authorities initially said at least 10 people died and some 40 “severely injured” victims were being treated.

The jump in the death toll was from the subsequent deaths of five victims who had been rushed to the hospital, authorities said.

“There was a group of people digging in the old well but suddenly a huge fire was sparked and it exploded,” said national police spokesman Setyo Wasisto.

The victims were collecting oil from around the entrance of a wellbore when the blaze erupted, police said.

It was not known how much oil was spilled or what ignited the fire, but authorities suggested a lit cigarette as a possible cause.

“There were many people there who were smoking,” Wasisto said.

“It’s a village so many were scrambling to get oil and it was crowded,” he added.

 Dangerous drilling 

East Aceh is dotted with numerous small-scale oil mining operations, which are often run illegally by local villagers.

There are reportedly tens of thousands of such wells across the Southeast Asian archipelago.

Abandoned oil wells are sometimes re-tapped while locals also drill into fresh sites to find new sources.

Although authorities said the Aceh operation was illegal, deadly fires are not uncommon in Indonesia, a sprawling country of more than 260 million people where safety regulations are often flouted.

In October, 47 people died after a blaze tore through a fireworks factory outside Jakarta.

Workplace safety is often lacking in Indonesia and there are also concerns about lax building standards.

This year, Jakarta temporarily halted all elevated transportation projects after a dozen major accidents killed five and wounded dozens more.

That directive followed a balcony collapse at the Jakarta Stock Exchange building which injured dozens.

AFP

Spanish Firefighters Battle Portugal’s Deadliest Fire

Firefighters from the Spanish Military Emergency Unit continued to battle Portugal’s most deadly blaze which killed 64 people.

On Tuesday, members of the UME battled the fire at Cernache do Bonjardim, a village 20 kilometres away from Pedrogao Grande, where the deadliest forest fire in Portugal’s recent history began on Saturday.

The Civil Protection agency said firefighters extinguished the dramatic wildfire on Wednesday, though blazes persisted in nearby Central and other areas of the country.

The main fire, which erupted on Saturday and spread with breathtaking speed, killed 64 people as they tried to flee in cars or were engulfed in flames in remote villages in a hilly region about 200 km (125 miles) northeast of Lisbon.

Spanish air force sent two Canadair firefighting planes to Portugal to help battle the wildfire.

California Wildfires: Ferocious Fires Evict Thousands

fireAn evacuation order has been issued for an area home to more than 82,000 people in Southern California after a huge inferno broke out in a drought-ravaged mountain pass on Tuesday.

A day after its ignition in the mountains, the fire, which has been described by some as the most ferocious wildfire they have ever seen, had spread across nearly 47 square miles.

Officials say the flames have advanced and is out of control, despite the efforts of 1,300 firefighters.

“There will be a lot of families that come home to nothing,” San Bernardino County Fire Chief, Mark Hartwig told BBC.

“It hit hard. It hit fast. It hit with an intensity that we hadn’t seen before,” he added.

According to Reuters, two firefighters were trapped by flames in the effort to evacuate residents and defend homes, but managed to escape with only minor injuries.

Authorities have been unable to say how many homes have been destroyed, but some fear it will be in the hundreds.

Investigations are still ongoing on the cause of the fire, as it has destroyed homes and disrupted transport links between California and Nevada.

Fire Kills At Least 13 In France Birthday Party

Fire-Kills-13-In-France-Birthday-PartyAt least 13 persons have died in a fire incident that occurred during a party in Northern France.

Reports say the fire started from the candles on a birthday cake at the early hours of Saturday and left six others injured with one critically wounded.

French authorities say dozens of firefighters were called to the fire which occurred at the Cuba Libre bar in Rouen.

Investigation into the matter has begun while the incident has been dissociated from terrorism.

Fire Threat Eases In Western Australia

fireMilder conditions have helped firefighters contain a bush fire in Western Australia which was reported to have killed two people and continued to burn.

The fire engulfed the entire town of Yarloop near Perth last week, destroying at least 128 homes.

Police authority disclosed that the bodies of two men in their 70s were discovered in the remains of burnt-out houses.

More favourable conditions on Sunday allowed firefighters to set up restraint lines.

BBC said that the Department of Fire and Emergency Service noted that the fire perimeter was currently about 232 kilometres (144 miles).