European fires

Portugal Fires: Three Days of National Mourning for Wildfire Victims

"Fires continued into Monday night, despite rainfall in some affected areas." Credit: AFP

"Fires continued into Monday night, despite rainfall in some affected areas." Credit: AFP

As we mourn the losses from the California wildfires, we also send our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones in the Portugal and Spain fires. 

From the Source:

"At least 41 people died after hundreds of fires spread across central and northern areas on Sunday and Monday.

They started in dry conditions and were fanned by strong Atlantic winds from Hurricane Ophelia.

Across the border in Spain, at least four people died in wildfires in the Galicia region.

However, a one-month-old baby who was believed to have died in Portugal's Tabua area has been found alive, the civil protection authorities told the Portuguese press."

"Residents said they had little time to react. 'The fire came at the foot of the village and spread at an incredible rate,' Jose Morais, who lives in Vouzela in the Viseu region, told AFP news agency.

'It felt like the end of the world. Everyone fled.'"

Wildfire Burns Across (Formerly) Icy Greenland

The Sentinel-2 satellite captured a wildfire burning in western Greenland.  Credit:  Pierre Markuse    Flickr   ( CC BY 2.0 )

The Sentinel-2 satellite captured a wildfire burning in western Greenland. Credit: Pierre Markuse Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It's all connected!

From the Source:

"A series of blazes is burning roughly in the vicinity of Kangerlussuaq, a small town that serves as a basecamp for researchers in the summer to access Greenland’s ice sheet and western glaciers. The largest fire has burned roughly 3,000 acres and sent smoke spiraling a mile into the sky, prompting hunting and hiking closures in the area, according to local news reports."

"The ice has been melting at a quickening pace since 2000, partly due to wildfires in other parts of the world. The uptick in boreal forest fires has kicked up more ash in the atmosphere where prevailing winds have steered it toward the ice sheet.

The dark ash traps more energy from the sun, which has warmed the ice sheet and caused more widespread melting. Soot from massive wildfires in Siberia caused 95 percent of the Greenland ice sheet surface to melt in 2012, a phenomenon that could become a yearly occurrence by 2100 as the planet warms and northern forest fires become more common."

This is How Much of the World is Currently on Fire

"September 2014 Happy Camp Complex Fire in the Klamath National Forest in California." Credit: US Forest Service

"September 2014 Happy Camp Complex Fire in the Klamath National Forest in California." Credit: US Forest Service

These interactive maps and graphics offer a grim look at what we might expect as a new normal with climate change. The world is on fire like never before this year. Hawaii is no exception.

From the Source:

"Here in the United States the Forest Service is reporting that 2017 is shaping up to be a worse than average fire year based on acres of federal, private and state land burned. So far, 5.6 million acres of land has burned this year, or 1.8 million acres more than the ten year average of 3.8 million acres burned by this time."

"Across the border from the United States, fires are also currently scorching Canada’s British Columbia. This is the province’s second worst fire season on record and NASA satellites have identified the conflagration from space."

"On the other side of the globe, if you load up the European Commission’s fire map, it looks like the end of the world, especially in Italy and Romania. So far, an area just slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island has burned. The total is already roughly three times the normal amount of summer wildfires. Back in June, 60 people died over the course of one weekend in Portugal due to wildfires. Thirty people were killed when the fires reached roads on evacuation routes. And as the map makes clear, those fires don’t seem to be abating, in part because of the hotter, drier temperatures."

French Riviera: 12,000 Flee Bushfires as Planes Waterbomb Popular Tourist Coast

"An aerial view shows plumes of smoke on the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas." Credit: Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP

"An aerial view shows plumes of smoke on the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas." Credit: Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP

We are wishing for the safety of all those in harm's way in France (as well as Portugal and Italy). 

From the Source:

"Backed by planes dropping water and fire retardant, more than 1,000 firefighters are battling bushfires billowing smoke into the sky over France's southern Cote d'Azur, forcing the evacuation of at least 12,000 people.

The blaze was the latest of several wind-whipped fires ravaging forest and scrubland on the hills and slopes that spill into the Mediterranean Sea.

France's Prime Minister, visiting the area, predicted a grim day ahead.

Large swaths of Mediterranean forest had been left bare and blackened after three days of fires. About 250 trailer homes, a hangar, an atelier and several vehicles were burned in the blazes, but no-one had been injured so far, the prefect of the Var region said."

"In central Portugal on Wednesday, billowing smoke made visibility too poor to use water-dropping aircraft on the region's flaming pine and eucalyptus forests. More than 2,300 firefighters with more than 700 vehicles battled 13 blazes, with flames driven by powerful winds.

In Italy, where wildfires have raged for weeks, firefighters responded to 26 requests for water and fire retardant air crops on Tuesday throughout central and southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia.

The Coldiretti agriculture lobby said 50 million bees were destroyed along with their hives in fires on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Coldiretti said another 20 per cent of the bee population is estimated to have become disoriented by all the smoke and died as a result."