Thick Smoke Cancels Thai Flights
.c The Associated Press
MAE HONG SON, Thailand (AP) - Flights to the border town of Mae Hong Son in northwestern Thailand were canceled Thursday because of poor visibility caused by thick smoke from brush fires, an airline official said.
Thai Airways International said it canceled all three flights from the northern city of Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, 400 miles northwest of Bangkok.
``The visibility is way below the standard for flying,'' said Sayamol Khajadpai, a public relation officer for the airline. ``We may have to cancel Friday's flights as well if it is not getting better.'' Brush fires this year have already burned more than 1,580 acres in seven districts of the province. The forestry department's firefighter units are still battling to put out the fires, but insist they have the
situation under control, said Mae Hong Son Governor Poj U-thana.
The governor blamed the fires on villagers who try to clear land by burning the growth on it. He said the practice continued despite publicity campaigns against it and the threat of jail terms.
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Thread: Around the World
03-24-2000, 09:51 AM #1Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Around the World
03-27-2000, 04:38 PM #2Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Fire Destroys 1,500 Bangladesh Huts
.c The Associated Press
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - Fire raced through a slum in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka on Saturday, destroying nearly 1,500 huts and
injuring at least 15 people, firefighters said.
Hundreds of people were left homeless by the blaze, which was believed to have started in a clay oven lit by firewood, a Fire Brigade official said on condition of anonymity. Ten firefighting units were called to the
scene to battle the blaze.
Another fire, started by a kerosene lamp, burned nearly 200 huts and left 25 people injured Friday in another area of the capital. Fires are common in the capital's overcrowded slums, which have no electricity, water or cooking gas.
03-27-2000, 05:13 PM #3Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
DCNR BUREAU OF FORESTRY MARKS START OF FIRE SEASON WITH AIRTANKER DEMONSTRATION
HARRISBURG (March 24, 2000) - As part of its Wildfire Prevention Week activities, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry today opened airtanker operations at the Wyoming Air Attack Base, Hazleton Municipal Airport.
The display of an airtanker water drop followed a safety briefing of DCNR personnel, local firefighters and aircraft crew in preparation for the start of the forest-fire season.
Airtankers, fixed-wing aircraft equipped to drop water and fire retardant, are used by the Bureau of Forestry to fight forest fires. In 1999, four airtankers conducted 331 "drops" and flew 117 hours fighting 96 fires across the Commonwealth.
"For many years, the water bombers have been a vital part of our effort to protect lives, homes and our precious forests from wildfires," said John Plonski, DCNR Executive Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry.
Airtankers and specially equipped helicopters, or helitankers, are used as an initial attack tool in fighting wildfires. Last year, three helitankers made 537 water drops on 42 fires across the state.
Firefighters depend on early fire-sighting reports to get to the fires quickly while they still are small. Water- and fire-retardant drops from helicopters and planes are one of many tools used in suppressing large fires as well.
The Bureau of Forestry contracts for an 800-gallon turboprop to fight wildfires more than a 50-mile radius from Hazleton Airport. The bureau also operates four other air- attack operations across the state: Midstate Airport, Centre County; Ohioport Heliport at Ohiopyle State Park, Fayette County; Blair Fire Station, Cambria County; and HB Rowland Heliport at the Camelback Ski Area, Big Pocono State Park, Monroe County.
The Bureau of Forestry first used an aircraft to suppress wildfires in Pennsylvania in 1960 from Hazleton and the Midstate Airport, both chosen for their proximity to the greatest concentration of wildfires. The first water bombers were bi-wing, single-engine aircraft that carried 180 gallons of water.
Gov. Tom Ridge proclaimed this week as Wildfire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania. Each year, about 10,000 acres of forests and fields in Pennsylvania are destroyed by wildfires, 98 percent of which are caused by the careless actions of people.
Most wildfires occur in the spring, since dry conditions, direct sunlight through bare trees and the abundance of dead undergrowth can cause a fire to spread rapidly.
For more information on wildfire prevention, contact local forest districts or check out DCNR's web site through the Pennsylvania home page at www.state.pa.us or directly at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
04-05-2000, 10:58 PM #4Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Winds reaching 60 mph lashed Turkey's northwest Wednesday killing two elderly people and fanning fires that burned down scores of village homes, officials and news reports said.
The strong southwesterly winds lifted roofs, uprooted trees and knocked down electricity poles, cutting power in many regions.
The winds blew down the minaret of a village mosque in the province of Balikesir, killing a 71-year-old passer-by, the region's Gov. Alaadin Yuksel said. A woman in her seventies was also killed after being hit by an uprooted tree.
Fires ignited by overturned stoves and heaters raged through 23 homes and stables in the village of Kiraz, Yuksel said. At least 50 homes caught fire in three villages in the provinces of Bursa and Canakkale, the Anatolia news agency said.
The winds also helped fan forest and brush fires in at least 19 different locations in the region, devastating more than 3,000 acres, the agency said.
Meteorologists forecast that the winds would subside by early Thursday.
04-14-2000, 09:57 AM #5Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Korea mountain fires rage on east coast
SEOUL, April 14 (Reuters) - A forest fire that has killed two and destroyed 500 buildings in South Korea was still out of control on Friday, as cabinet ministers agreed to ask President Kim Dae-jung to declare parts of the east coast a disaster area....
SEOUL, April 15 - South Korean President Kim Dae-jung has declared a disaster area parts of the east coast where forest fires
have killed two people and destroyed more than 600 buildings.
They said the government would provide financial support including loans
and tax benefits to more than 840 people who have been left homeless....
[This message has been edited by Captain Hickman (edited April 15, 2000).]
05-05-2000, 06:25 PM #6Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
05-14-2000, 11:51 PM #7Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
MOSCOW (AP) More than 54,000 acres of forest were ablaze across Russia's Far East, with the worst fires in the remote Amur region near the border with China, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Saturday.
Local officials said that 220 fire fighters were battling the Amur fires, the report said. Eighteen fires had been extinguished in the past 24 hours, it said.
Rain helped douse fires in some areas.
05-23-2000, 12:11 PM #8Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
-Guess the Incident Name would be ButterFly-
MEXICO CITY (AP) A brush fire reignited and jumped firebreaks about a mile from a winter breeding ground for the migratory Monarch butterfly, the Environment Secretariat reported Thursday.
Hundreds of workers and two firefighting helicopters had extinguished two of the three main blazes in the west-central state of Mexico by late Wednesday, and the reserve had not been damaged, the government news agency Notimex reported.
But fresh winds Thursday reignited the blaze, and the secretariat said it would implement a new plan to contain the fire near the El Cacique reserve, 75 miles west of Mexico City.
The fires, which started earlier this week after a campfire apparently got out of control, burned about 750 acres of brush and about 75 acres of trees in a buffer zone around the reserve.
Millions of monarch butterflies spend the winter months in the fir forests of west-central Mexico.
The butterflies originate in Canada and the United States and fly each year to Mexico. They are not an endangered species, but environmentalists have long been worried that excessive logging in Mexico or use of pesticides in the United States has been killing the orange-and-black butterflies.
06-22-2000, 10:00 PM #9Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) A brush fire spread by windy conditions forced firefighters to evacuate 450 homes in suburban Halifax on Wednesday.
No injuries were reported and no houses had caught fire by Wednesday evening.
Susan Mader Zinck of the provincial Natural Resources Department said the fire covered at least 100 acres of forest. Helicopters dropped water on the fire on Wednesday, and officials said two more planes were coming to help fight the blaze.
Constable Bruce Brophy of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the fire came within 100 yards of a subdivision with about 1,000 homes.
The cause of the fire was unknown.
07-01-2000, 04:44 PM #10Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
JULY 01, 06:20 EDT
Balloons Ignite Fires in Rain Forest
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) Homemade hot air balloons launched at traditional June festivals crashed in wooded areas and ignited what one firefighting official called the largest single loss of rain forest in Rio in the last 20 years.
The fires that were ignited a week ago destroyed 88 acres of Rio's dwindling Atlantic forest, officials said Friday. The size of the destruction was sure to rise as firefighters on Friday battled 16 separate fires from the balloons, said Maj. Fabio Meirelles, deputy commander of Rio's Rainforest Firefighting Group.
``This is the largest single loss of rain forest we have seen in the last 20 years,'' he said.
Many of the fires were burning in Rio's Tijuca Forest National Park, an 8,250 acre reserve in the heart of Rio. It is billed as the world's largest urban forest and the site of Rio's famous Christ statue
Firefighters in trucks and helicopters struggled to control the blaze but were hampered by winds, difficult access and a lack of rain that has left the forest tinder-dry, Meirelles said.
The tradition of launching balloons is linked to the June feast days of Catholic saints Anthony, John and Peter. Often lavishly decorated and carrying fireworks or hanging lanterns, the balloons fly on hot air from a burning wad of cotton soaked in wax.
Although launching balloons is illegal, official warnings and public service messages have failed to stamp out the practice.
About 250 acres of Rio's rain forest are destroyed each year, and only 10,500 acres remain altogether, according to an unpublished study of Rio's Atlantic Rainforest funded by the city government. At that rate, the forest may be gone in 40 years.
One of the most endangered and biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, Brazil's Atlantic rain forest survives only in isolated patches along Brazil's coastline. The environmental group S.O.S. Atlantic Rainforest Foundation estimates that just 8 percent of the original forest is still standing.
07-07-2000, 05:21 PM #11Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Wildfires Blaze in Italy Heat Wave
ROME (AP) Wildfires blazed Wednesday amid a blistering heat wave, burning a pine forest near Rome and eating up large swaths in southern Italy and on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Firefighters labored through the night to extinguish the blaze in a pine forest near Castelfusano, one of the green ``lungs of Rome.'' They had it under control Wednesday, but ash blanketed the ground and a pall of thick smoke hung over the area, which is near a secluded presidential retreat.
In just 24 hours, the fire destroyed more than 250 acres, killed eight horses at a riding club, sent more than a dozen elderly people to the hospital with smoke inhalation and forced a group of 120 Roma, also known as Gypsies, to move their camp.
Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli said arsonists were to blame and offered a $49,000 reward for information.
``These jackals must not get away with it,'' the mayor said in a statement.
Farther south, along the ``spur'' of the Italian peninsula, wildfires fed by hot winds and high temperatures had consumed 1,730 acres near Gargano.
Fires also raged in woods along the Naples highway, in other parts of the Campania region, and on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Temperatures rose as high as 104 degrees at the tip of the Italian peninsula and the high in Rome was a sweltering 97 degrees.
07-10-2000, 11:03 AM #12Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Greek Island Fire Battled
ATHENS, Greece (AP) Hundreds of firefighters and civilians battled a blaze on the Aegean Sea island of Samos on Saturday as strong winds continued to fan fires across Greece, authorities said.
Temperatures in Greece were expected to reach 106 degrees as hot, dry winds continued to fan forest fires burning since Thursday.
Samos, the scene of the largest fire in the country, has been in a state of emergency since Thursday. Homes were evacuated as about 450 firefighters, soldiers and hundreds of civilian volunteers tried to bring the blaze under control. A 93-year-old woman was found dead in a village near the fire. The woman, Maria Eleftheriou, was burned alive in her home Saturday morning, authorities said.
Also taking part in the effort were six airplanes, four helicopters, 40 fire trucks and 15 water tankers, authorities said.
Although the extent of the damage was not known, several abandoned homes, hundreds of acres of farm land and forest have been reported destroyed.
Another fire on the Ionian Sea island of Corfu raged as more than 40 firefighters and 13 trucks battled the blaze.
A number of smaller fires also burned throughout Greece, including blazes on the island of Crete, authorities said.
Police suspect arson in a fire near ancient Marathon and have arrested three construction workers.
07-12-2000, 01:22 PM #13Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
JULY 10, 14:38 EDT
Wildfires Rage Throughout SE Europe
By PATRICK QUINN
Associated Press Writer
ATHENS, Greece (AP) Hundreds of wildfires sparked by a prolonged heat wave raged through southeastern Europe on Monday, spurring officials in Bulgaria and Greece to declare states of emergency as meteorologists forecast a new spike in temperatures.
As firefighters battled large wildfires in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Serbia's Kosovo province, medical services geared up for resurgent heat. Daytime temperatures in much of the region remained above 100 degrees, and some spots were expecting the mercury to approach 110 degrees Tuesday.
Two pensioners were reported dead in Italy on Monday, and 13 people died in Cyprus and Turkey over the weekend. A total of more than 50 people have died throughout the region since last week killed by everything from heatstroke to drowning or falling off roofs while trying to cool off.
``The forecast for the coming days shows a worsening of these weather conditions,'' Greek Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou said.
The blazes have stretched the region's firefighting capabilities to the breaking point, preventing one country from helping the other.
'`Look at what happened in Italy,'' Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. ``Our neighbor asked for help, but we did not have the capability of offering it because we are using our forces on our own fronts.''
Fires persisted the Italian countryside Monday. Authorities said two fires were devastating scrubland in one of Italy's most beautiful nature spots in the mountains of the national park above the northeastern coast, near Portafino.
In Bulgaria, a state of emergency was declared in the southeast as a fire spreading on an estimated 60-mile-wide front swept through rural areas. State radio quoted Prime Minister Ivan Kostov as saying more than 1,000 acres of wheat fields and more than 10,000 acres of forest had burned. There have been a reported 1,500 fires around Bulgaria since July 3.
Fires also were burning in four of Kosovo's five military sectors. One blaze destroyed several houses near Planeja in southern Kosovo and forced the evacuation of residents. NATO said firefighters there were hampered by the large number of land mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the conflict between the Serb government and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian separatists.
In Greece, the government again made climate-controlled halls and stadiums available to people without air conditioners while nearly 5,000 firefighters battled more than 150 blazes around the country. The fires were fanned by winds and temperatures expected to rise from Monday's 102 degrees up to 109 degrees on Tuesday.
The most serious blaze was on the Aegean Sea resort island of Samos, a popular tourist destination and birthplace of the ancient mathematician Pythagoras. A state of emergency was declared there Thursday. On Monday, thousands of firefighters, soldiers and volunteers and a dozen aircraft were fighting the fire, which has so far burned about one-fifth of the island.
A state of emergency was also declared in the central Greece. In addition, firefighters fought blazes near ancient Delphi and on the Ionian Sea resort islands of Corfu and Zakynthos.
To the east, four people died of heat in Cyprus over the weekend and nine people were killed in Turkey. Five drowned as they tried to cool themselves in waterfalls, rivers and canals, two died after they rolled off roofs where they slept seeking relief and two were felled by heatstroke.
Temperatures are forecast to stay near or above 104 degrees until Wednesday, when a cold air mass breaks through a high pressure barrier that has brought hot air north from the Sahara. Average regional temperatures swing from about 86 to 95 degrees in July
07-16-2000, 04:14 PM #14Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
---Two Greek air force pilots killed---
Fires in Greece Under Control
ATHENS, Greece (AP) Firefighters brought under control Sunday nearly all the fires that had been raging throughout the country, authorities said.
The majority of the big fires, which had been burning out of control for days, were in the region of Corinth 50 miles southwest of the capital where a state of emergency was still in effect. Though fires were under control, authorities were on alert in case they were rekindled.
Experts started cataloguing the amount of damage done to forest, farm land, homes and livestock, authorities said.
In other parts of the country fires were still burning, but they were now under control and were expected to be extinguished by the end of the day, authorities said.
Greece's 6,000-strong firefighting force has fought more than 1,100 fires since the beginning of July.
They fought the blazes with help from foreign aircraft sent Friday by Israel, the Czech Republic and Russia.
The Israeli crew, consisting of a C-130 transport plane, two helicopters and 50 members of the air force, were scheduled to leave Sunday.
On Saturday, a Canadair CL-215 aircraft slammed into a mountain on the east coast of Greece, killing both Greek air force pilots, as they were fighting a blaze 200 miles northeast of Athens.
Greece uses about 10 helicopters and 30 airplanes for firefighting, most of them Canadair seaplanes which replenish their water supply to fight fires by skimming over the water while a trapdoor opens to take in the water.
Rain was forecast for much of Greece starting Monday, but officials said conditions would remain hazardous over the weekend.
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