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  1. #61
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    Appeal from Malaysia goes out for Il-76 waterbombers
    http://www.vadscorner.com/internet67.html

    In 1997, during The HAZE last time, when MAFFs responded,
    two things happened:

    (a) the Russians offered to come out with IL-76s for the
    price of fuel alone - and were rejected; and

    (b) the National Guard, who responded with C-130s stated
    in a brief following the mission that planes with better dump
    capacity (IL-76s) should have been used.


  2. #62
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    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia and Malaysia agreed Thursday
    to release rain-inducing chemicals into clouds in a desperate
    attempt to extinguish forest fires that have shrouded the two
    nations in a choking haze, an official said.
    Indonesia's forestry minister held an emergency meeting with
    Malaysia's environment minister in the city of Medan to discuss
    hundreds of fires that have been burning out of control on
    Indonesia's Sumatra island for the last week.
    Winds have blown most of the thick white smoke across the narrow
    Strait of Malacca to Malaysia, which imposed a "haze emergency"
    Thursday in its biggest harbor and a tourist spot where air
    pollution exceeded hazardous levels.
    The haze has blanketed Kuala Lumpur and surrounding towns in a
    pall of noxious fumes, smelling of ash and coal, in the country's
    worst environmental crisis since 1997, sparking serious health
    concerns.
    The ministers agreed to try to douse flames by seeding clouds
    with chemicals in a bid to induce rain, said Koes Saparjadi, a
    senior official at Indonesia's Forestry Department. "But we still
    have not decided where or when the rain-making project will be
    implemented," he said.
    While cloud-seeding has its advocates, many scientists insist
    there is no solid evidence to show that it works.
    Many of the 300 fires in the Indonesian provinces of North
    Sumatra, Central Kalimantan and Riau have been set by farmers,
    plantation owners and miners trying to clear land, said Khairul
    Zaenal, a local forestry officer.
    Damage in Indonesian cities and towns was limited, he said,
    although haze covering large swathes of countryside has reached a
    dangerous level.
    Indonesia was struggling to battle the fires, and a clearly
    frustrated Malaysia offered to help. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad
    Badawi called Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on
    Wednesday, saying he was prepared to dispatch firefighters to the
    area if need be.
    Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, is 1,400
    kilometers (900 miles) northwest of Jakarta.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  3. #63
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    The question remains: Why, during The HAZE last time,
    did the international community reject the IL-76
    waterbombers and go with airplanes whose notoriously
    poor canopy penetration capability virtually assured mission
    failure....the admitting of which failure went on the
    National Guard record following the attempt.

    Was this all just for show?

  4. #64
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    Post August 21st

    By JOANA MATEUS
    Associated Press Writer
    LISBON, Portugal (AP)- Firefighting aircraft from Italy and
    Germany were due to arrive in Portugal later Monday after the
    Lisbon government said it could no longer control raging forest
    fires and appealed for help.
    On Sunday two Canadair water tank planes from France and one
    from Spain arrived in Portugal on Sunday afternoon to help fight
    more than 60 wildfires gripping the country from north to south,
    firefighters said. A third of these were burning in the northern
    districts of Viseu and Viana do Castelo.
    On Monday, a Canadair from Italy plus three helicopters from
    Germany with 25 anti-fire specialists aboard were expected to
    arrive in the fire stricken country to add to the international
    task force.
    On Saturday Portugal asked the European Union for help in
    fighting massive wildfires as the Interior ministry admitted it
    could no longer cope with dozens of blazes burning through forests
    and farmland without external help.
    Portugal's worst drought in years has helped the flames spread.
    So far, 11 firefighters and four civilians have been killed in this
    year's fires, while 50 houses have been destroyed.
    The most serious fire was in the Pampilhosa da Serra region, in
    the district of Coimbra, 196 kilometers (122 miles) north of
    Lisbon. Although the fire had seemingly been extinguished last
    Wednesday after burning for five days, the flames flared up again
    on Friday, forcing several villages to be evacuated.
    So far, 30,000 hectares (74,130 acres) of the region's 39,000
    hectares (96,369 acres) have been destroyed, and 200 firefighters,
    74 fire trucks and three firefighting planes and helicopters were
    battling the flames in the area. Fires were also ablaze in the
    districts of Aveiro, Braga, Braganca, Coimbra, Leiria, Porto,
    Santarem, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real and Viseu.
    On Sunday President Jorge Sampaio asked all employers to release
    any employees who also work as firefighters so that they could help
    fight the blazes. "I appeal to all employers to release your
    firefighter employees to help fight this terrible tragedy," he
    said after attending a briefing at the Lisbon firefighters
    headquarters. "We have a vast corps of volunteers and we need them
    all on the field," Sampaio said.
    The President thanked the international community for the help
    that has been arriving in the country and also asked the Portuguese
    to unite in the face of a "demanding and difficult moment".
    Also on Sunday, Prime Minister Jose Socrates visited Pampilhosa
    da Serra and praised the firefighters.
    "This weekend has been extraordinary and the firefighters'
    effort has been extraordinary as well," Socrates said. "We need
    all the help we can get and France's help is already a great
    thing."
    The Prime Minister added a lot needed to be done to understand
    the causes of fires in Portugal. "Right now all we can do is fight
    the fires but we've got a lot of work to do afterwards because
    there are structural causes for fires in Portugal," he said. "The
    country cannot surrender to the notion that we have to go through
    this every year."
    In the Abrantes district, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north
    of Lisbon, several other fires forced villages to be evacuated and
    burned three houses, firefighters said.
    Altogether, some 3,401 firefighters, helped by 956 fire trucks,
    34 national aeroplanes and helicopters, and three foreign
    aeroplanes were fighting blazes in Portugal on Sunday. More than
    200 police officers also arrived in the fire-stricken areas in the
    country's northern and central regions to help evacuate villages,
    block or reopen roads and ensure access for fire trucks and
    ambulances.
    The Armed Forces were also contributing with 600 men to
    monitoring operations in areas where fires had been put out.
    High temperatures together with strong winds, which rekindled
    several fires on Saturday, were also forecast for the coming days.
    Temperatures were expected to reach highs of 36 degrees Celsius (96
    degrees Fahrenheit) in some districts, like Santarem, 78 kilometers
    (49 miles) north of Lisbon. The districts of Viana do Castelo,
    Braga, Porto, Braganca, Viseu, Aveiro, Coimbra, Leiria and Evora
    were at the highest possible risk for fires on Monday, weather
    services said.
    Portugal's summer wildfires have so far burned through 140,000
    hectares (345,940 acres), already more than the total area burned
    last year, officials said.
    Last year's fires burned 129,652 hectares (320,370 acres) and in
    2003 - the worst for wildfires in the last two decades - the blazes
    burned 425,000 hectares (1 million acres).

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  5. #65
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    Post Spain August 21st

    MADRID, Spain (AP) - Officials in the northwestern Spanish
    province of Galicia on Sunday blamed arsonists for the outbreak of
    more than 180 forest fires that have raged in the region over the
    past two days.
    "Experts have informed us that over 95 percent of the fires
    active over this weekend have been started deliberately," Teresa
    Varela, press spokeswoman for the province's regional government,
    told The Associated Press.
    Varela said that 184 fires broke out on Saturday alone and that
    once extinguished, some fires flared up again in points very close
    to the original outbreaks. More than 20 fires were still burning
    Sunday.
    Almost all of the fires have been concentrated in two regions -
    Pentevedra and Ourense - whereas neighboring Lugo, which has
    extensive forests, is totally free of fire, said Varela.
    Conditions were so bad in some regions that counselor Alfredo
    Suarez Canal warned that "unscrupulous pyromaniacs" had made main
    roads dangerous for traffic due to the risk of fire and heavy
    smoke.
    One firefighter in the town of Xinzo de Limia was jailed
    Saturday pending trial on suspicion of deliberately starting a
    fire, Varela said.
    Galicia has lost 10,076 hectares (24,897 acres) of forest to
    fire so far this month in 1,692 fires, according to figures
    released by the department of environment of the province.
    The Civil Guard's Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) has
    detained 277 people this year on suspicion of deliberately starting
    fires in Spain, more than the total for the whole of last year,
    according to figures released by the service.
    A total of 95,000 hectares (234,745 acres) of forest have burned
    in Spain this year, killing 15 people and forcing 3,300 people to
    be evacuated from 850 homes.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  6. #66
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    Post August 21st

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Nearly all of the Indonesian brush
    fires that blanketed neighboring Malaysia with acrid, choking smoke
    have been put out, but underground fires are still burning in peat
    soil, Indonesia said.
    "All areas where the fire happened due to land clearing
    activities ... can be said to have already been extinguished,"
    private radio station El Shinta quoted Forestry Minister Malem
    Sambat Kaban as saying Sunday. "The number of hotspots there can
    be said to be zero - by ignoring five or six small ones."
    However, a local official said a sanctuary for tigers is
    threatened by underground fires still smoldering in peat lands in
    the same area where many of the brush fires had burned on
    Indonesia's Sumatra island.
    About 1,200 firefighters were trying to extinguish the
    underground blazes beneath about 20,000 hectares (49,420 acres) of
    peat lands in Rokan Hilir district of Riau province on Sumatra,
    said Chairul Zaenal of the local environmental controlling office
    in Riau's capital, Pekanbaru.
    Zaenal said the peat fires threaten a nearby 60,000-hectare
    (148,260-acre) conservation zone for Sumatran tigers, as well as a
    protected forest.
    The Indonesian brush fires - mostly set as a cheap but illegal
    way to clear land for plantations, mines and other operations -
    have cloaked large parts of Malaysia, including the main city of
    Kuala Lumpur, with a noxious haze, sometimes pushing the air
    pollution level into the hazardous range.
    The fires, often set during the area's annual mid-year dry
    season, have become a sensitive political issue between Indonesia
    and neighboring countries including Malaysia and Singapore, where
    haze from the fires has occasionally been blamed for annoyance, air
    traffic disruptions, health problems and damage to the crucial
    tourism industry.
    Officials in Indonesia - a vast archipelago struggling with
    poverty and corruption - often say they cannot halt the burning due
    to a lack of resources and personnel.
    "Demands of lands for new estates increases every year in both
    Riau and West Kalimantan provinces, but the commitment of our
    businessmen for environment is still low," Kaban told El Shinta.
    Indonesia has also claimed that Malaysian plantation owners were
    behind some of the fires, a claim Malaysia has denied.
    This year, Malaysia deployed 125 fire fighters to help fight the
    Sumatra blazes. Singapore has routinely helped out by providing
    Indonesia with satellite images of the affected areas.
    Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to lower the fire risk by
    starting cloud-seeding next week over Riau and North Sumatra
    provinces, both on Sumatra island, and in West Kalimantan on Borneo
    island.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  7. #67
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    Post August 22nd

    By JOANA MATEUS
    Associated Press Writer
    LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Wildfires fanned by high winds burned
    out of control Monday, destroying more than 10 houses on the
    outskirts of Portugal's third-largest city and forcing 50 people to
    leave their homes amid the country's worst drought in years.
    The government, no longer able to cope with the more than 25
    fires burning through forest and farmland, called on the European
    Union for help over the weekend.
    France dispatched two firefighting planes Sunday, and the Dutch
    air force was contributing with two Cougar helicopters, each
    capable of carrying 660 gallons of water.
    Spain also delivered a plane, and Italy was expected to send one
    Tuesday. Three helicopters from Germany would also join in the
    operations.
    Most of the fires burned in the northern districts of Viseu and
    Viana do Castelo. Coimbra, the country's third-largest city with
    nearly 110,000 people, was surrounded by two fire fronts,
    firefighters said.
    Flames and smoke could be seen from different parts of the city,
    located about 120 miles north of Lisbon, and the fire had already
    spread to a number of boroughs, firefighters said.
    More than 10 houses on Coimbra's outskirts were burned, and 50
    people had fled their homes, firefighters said. Seven planes were
    dumping water on the fires, but Mayor Carlos Encarnacao said it was
    still moving quickly.
    About 200 firefighters were battling another large fire in
    Abrantes in the district of Santarem, about 50 miles north of
    Lisbon. Traffic on one of the district's highways was disrupted by
    a blaze.
    Nearly 2,000 firefighters, supported by 795 fire trucks and 31
    aircraft, were involved in the nationwide effort.
    The army sent 600 men to monitor areas where fires had been
    extinguished, and civil protection workers stood by in case
    residents had to be evacuated.
    Strong winds rekindled several fires during the weekend, and
    more winds and high temperatures were forecast.
    Temperatures were expected to reach 96 degrees in some districts
    Monday. They were likely to begin dropping only on Wednesday, when
    there was also a chance of mild rain, forecasters said.
    The wildfires have burned through 346,000 acres, already more
    than the total area hit last year, when 320,000 acres were
    destroyed, officials said.
    In 2003 - the worst year in the last two decades - the blazes
    burned 1 million acres, causing losses of $1.4 billion. Portugal
    received $59 million in compensation from the Solidarity Fund that
    year.
    In neighboring Spain, the country's environment ministry said
    that 265,000 acres of forest had been destroyed in wildfires. More
    than 20 fires continued to burn in the northwestern region of
    Galicia, many of them believed to have been started intentionally,
    authorities said.

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  8. #68
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    Post 8/23

    By JOANA MATEUS
    Associated Press Writer
    LISBON, Portugal (AP)- Lower temperatures and increased humidity
    on Tuesday helped firefighters contain about 20 of the 30 fires
    that have raged in Portugal, but the worst blaze continued to burn
    on the outskirts of the city of Coimbra, destroying some houses.
    Police, meanwhile, announced the arrests of four people on
    suspicion of arson, including one man who used to be a firefighter.
    The lighter used for setting the fires was also recovered. So far
    this year 102 people have been arrested for setting fires, police
    said.
    More than 300 firefighters were battling the blaze on the edges
    of Coimbra, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Lisbon, and
    three firefighting helicopters from Germany were flying in on
    Tuesday to help.
    That fire has scorched woodland since Sunday night. It moved
    into several suburbs of the city of more than 100,000 people on
    Monday and destroyed 10 houses. About 60 people were forced to
    evacuate, firefighters said.
    Twelve fires continued to burn throughout the country Tuesday,
    most of them in the northern districts of Viseu and Viana do
    Castelo.
    Altogether, 2,300 firefighters are fighting flames countrywide,
    supported by 659 fire trucks and 14 water-dumping aircraft sent
    from other European countries.
    About 600 members of the armed forces were also deployed to
    areas where fire has already been controlled to clear debris from
    roads and keep watch for new blazes.
    Weather services said many districts remained at "very high
    risk."
    Portugal has asked for help from the European Union. France sent
    two Canadair firefighting planes on Sunday and Spain sent one. The
    three helicopters from Germany and another Canadair from Italy were
    due to start firefighting operations Tuesday. The Dutch air force
    was contributing two Cougar firefighting helicopters.
    Despite the overnight drop in temperatures, Tuesday was expected
    to be hot and dry throughout the country with highs reaching 36
    degrees Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) in some areas, weather services
    said. Temperatures were expected to drop slightly on Wednesday.
    Portugal's summer wildfires have so far burned through 140,000
    hectares (345,940 acres), more than the total area burned last
    year, officials said.
    The EU Commission's spokeswoman Paula Laissy on Monday said
    Portugal could seek disaster assistance from the European
    Solidarity Fund, but Prime Minister Jose Socrates said the
    situation did not yet require it.
    Member states can ask for compensation when losses surpass 0.6
    percent of the gross domestic product. In 2003, fires in Portugal
    caused losses of euro1.2 billion, and the country received euro48.5
    million in compensation from the Solidarity Fund.
    Last year's fires burned 129,652 hectares (320,370 acres) and in
    2003 - the worst for wildfires in the last two decades - the blazes
    burned 425,000 hectares (1 million acres).

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  9. #69
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    Post August 24th

    By JOANA MATEUS
    Associated Press Writer
    LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Wildfires flared again around Portugal's
    third-largest city Wednesday, just hours after firefighters brought
    them under control after fighting a dozen blazes this week.
    More than 540 firefighters supported by 150 fire trucks and
    seven air tankers were battling blazes in the Coimbra district
    alone. They also were working in the central and northern districts
    of Porto, Santarem, Vila Real, Viseu.
    Four more people were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of arson -
    raising to 122 the number of people detained this year on suspicion
    of deliberately starting fires. Eighty people were arrested last
    year for arson in Portugal.
    Portugal has had little or no rain for 10 months, with at least
    75 percent of the country suffering through an extreme drought, the
    Water Institute said.
    After days of fires, a cooling fog and higher humidity helped
    firefighters bring the flames under control Wednesday before they
    flared up again, officials said.
    The fire has destroyed at least 10 houses in the suburbs of the
    city of Coimbra, about 120 miles north of Lisbon. About 50
    residents were evacuated from villages Tuesday night, officials
    said.
    Some residents were due to return to their homes, Coimbra's Gov.
    Henrique Fernandes said, but many will find a blackened landscape.
    More than 1,620 firefighters were involved in the effort, and
    about 600 members of the armed forces were deployed to areas where
    fires were under control.
    Several countries, including Spain, Germany, France and the
    Netherlands, sent pilots and equipment. Slovakia also said it was
    prepared to send a helicopter.
    In the Miranda do Corvo area of Coimbra, residents applauded as
    German helicopters helping to fight the blaze flew overhead,
    dousing flames with water, the Jornal de Noticias newspaper said.
    "As soon as they got here, they rolled up their sleeves and set
    up a communications room," Portuguese air force pilot Mario Marcao
    told the newspaper.
    Three French firefighters from a special natural disasters unit
    in Nice, France, cut short vacations to help out.
    Women walked long distances to bring drinking water, wine, juice
    and food to firefighters working days on end. Other residents
    helped by bringing crews buckets filled with water.
    Wildfires have killed 15 people, 11 of them firefighters, this
    year, burning through 445,000 acres, compared with 320,370 acres
    last year.
    Other parts of southern Europe also were ablaze. In Spain,
    enduring its driest year since keeping rainfall records in the
    1940s, dozens of fires were burning in the northwest Galicia region
    and other areas.
    Fires on the Mediterranean island of Corsica scorched 1,480
    acres of brush in July. Separate fires in France's southern
    Bouches-du-Rhone region destroyed more than 7,400 acres of brush
    and pine forest in July. August fires devastated about 1,700 acres
    of woodland in the Vars and Bouches-du-Rhone regions of
    southeastern France.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  10. #70
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    Default 2006

    Area size of New York City burnt in Spain fires
    By Jason Webb
    MADRID, Aug 16 (Reuters) - An area the size of New York City
    was destroyed in forest fires that raged across northwestern
    Spain this month, sparking accusations of political incompetence
    and organised arson, an official said on Wednesday.
    "A very large area has burnt, about 70,000 hectares," said
    Emilio Perez, the Galicia region's head of government, adding
    that many of the hundreds of fires were started on purpose.
    The area burnt became a political issue when Spain's
    conservative Popular Party opposition accused the local and
    national governments, which are both Socialist, of incompetence
    and disorganisation in fighting the fires.
    The Popular Party said it worked out from a NASA Internet
    page that 175,000 hectares had gone up in smoke.
    After an army-backed emergency effort including 7,000 fire
    fighters and planes dousing blazes with sea water, all but one
    fire had been extinguished by Wednesday.
    But the fires damaged Galicia's tourist economy during the
    year's busiest month, with beach goers coated in ashes and
    campers evacuated from tent sites or roped into fire fighting.
    Police have arrested 30 people for arson and authorities
    spoke of conspiracies by fire fighters seeking work and
    villagers exacting revenge on neighbours.
    One part-time fire fighter was caught in a wood carrying a
    can of petrol and 14 cigarette lighters. A newspaper published a
    photograph of tiny parachutes carrying firecrackers dropped onto
    trees.
    As suspicions spread, the strain told on some fire fighters.
    "It's sad you put out fires and they call you a pyromaniac.
    It's like blaming a doctor for murder," said one, Nacho Penela,
    speaking to El Pais newspaper.
    Summer fires are a recurring phenomenon in Spain, where an
    average 140,000 hectares burned every year from 1990 to 2004.
    People start almost all of them. But ecologists say the main
    problem is poor forest management in a depopulating countryside.
    Most Galician forests are small plots of pine and eucalyptus
    whose owners rarely bother to clear flammable undergrowth, said
    Felix Romero, of the World Wildlife Fund/Adena.
    "Galicia has to restructure its forest sector. Today,
    Galicia has a forest crisis," Romero said.
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    Default Spain--August 16th

    MADRID, Spain (AP) - Firefighters have extinguished all forest
    fires in Spain's northwestern Galicia region after nearly two weeks
    of blazes scorched tens of thousands of hectares (acres) of wood
    and scrubland, officials said Wednesday.
    A welcome light rain, meanwhile, fell on Galicia, a pristine
    region which lies on the Atlantic coast. But officials and
    ecologists expressed concern that heavier downfalls would cause
    erosion in now treeless land and send ash-laden runoff into the
    sea, damaging the region's lucrative fishing and seafood industry.
    Officials are also grappling with the estimated 10,000 cattle
    and horses that died or were injured in the fires, the worst in
    years in Spain's normally misty, green northwest corner.
    Preliminary estimates were that the fires burned 77,000 hectares
    of land (190,000 acres) from Aug. 4-15, with a margin of error of 5
    percent, said Alfredo Suarez Canal, the regional government's head
    of rural issues.
    That figure - slightly higher than one given earlier in the day
    by the regional president - is less than half the amount given by
    the conservative opposition Popular Party based on what it said
    were satellite images.
    The party has accused the regional government, run by the
    Socialist Party of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, of
    incompetence in dealing with the forest fires and called for a
    parliamentary probe.
    Crews put out the last blaze, near the town of Savinao in
    eastern Galicia, shortly before 9:30 a.m. (0730 GMT), two hours
    after it started, a rural environment department official said.
    Some 1,750 fires broke out in Galicia in the first two weeks of
    August, a figure authorities said was well above average. Four
    people have died.
    Cooler temperatures accompanied by light rains across the region
    helped the 8,000 firefighters, soldiers and volunteers crews
    extinguish the fires in recent days.
    Officials blame arsonists in most cases and 30 people have been
    arrested on suspicion of arson. Regional prosecutor Alvaro Garcia
    Ortiz said Monday that many factors cause people to start forest
    fires deliberately, including wanting to see land rezoned for new
    homes, turning forest into grazing land or sheer malice.
    Emilio Perez Tourino, president of the Galicia regional
    government, told Spanish National Radio on Wednesday that the fires
    had caused heavy environmental damage.

    (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Default Sweden---August 16th

    STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Firefighters were battling a wildfire
    in northern Sweden on Wednesday that officials called the largest
    in the country's modern history, but no communities were
    threatened, authorities said.
    The fire broke out last week outside the drought-stricken town
    of Boden, 900 kilometers (560 miles) north of Stockholm, and has
    since grown to an area of 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres), said Leif
    Nordstrom, a spokesman for the local rescue services.
    About 40 people from six nearby villages have been evacuated,
    but no homes in the sparsely populated area were threatened,
    Nordstrom said. More than 60 firefighters and seven helicopters had
    been called in to battle the blaze, he said.
    He said the fire should be under control within the next few
    days, but that "it depends a lot on the weather and winds."

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    Default August 20th

    Greek firefighters battle forest fires amid heat wave
    ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Firefighters battled blazes near Athens
    and in southern Greece on Sunday and a heat wave prompted
    authorities to issue fire and public health warnings.
    Temperatures reached 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) and
    were expected to stay high Monday.
    The Fire Service said it had controlled a blaze near Marathon,
    40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Athens.
    Two tanker aircraft dropping water were used to tackle a fire in
    the southern Greek Arcadia region.
    Municipal officials said dozens of air-conditioned sites, such
    as gymnasiums and clinics, were open for citizens seeking relief
    from the sweltering temperatures. In the capital, 26 such locations
    were available.
    The state electricity company, DEH, said it had bolstered the
    national grid to cope with heavy use of air conditioners.

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    Default Turkey --August 20th

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkish authorities battling forest fires
    on Sunday evacuated hundreds of panicked tourists touring the
    purported home of the Virgin Mary in the ancient ruins of Ephesus.
    The tourists were visiting the tiny stone home that is believed
    by some to be the home of Jesus' mother. Strong winds brought
    flames closer, forcing authorities to evacuate them by buses,
    authorities said. Some tourists left on foot, according to private
    CNN-Turk and NTV televisions.
    A local forestry official in the area said the flames were under
    control and were posing no threat to the house, which tradition
    holds to be the last earthly home of the Virgin Mary.
    Each year, tens of thousands tourists visit the house and light
    slim white candles placed in sand around the edge of the main room.
    The ruins of Ephesus are located on the Aegean Sea, in western
    Turkey.

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    Default Greece August 21st

    Tourists evacuated as fire rages in northern Greece
    AP Photo ATH101-104
    ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Hundreds of tourists and local residents
    were evacuated late Monday as a forest fire swept through resorts
    in northern Greece, destroying homes and cars.
    No injuries were reported as the fire burned out of control on
    several fronts on the three-fingered Halkidiki peninsula, at the
    resorts of Polychrono and Hanioti, authorities said.
    Local officials said there had been indications of arson.
    Tourists and residents were led to beaches in the area after
    homes, hotels and campsites were evacuated. Coast guard vessels
    were preparing to transport some of those evacuated to areas
    further away from the fire, authorities said.
    "This is a very difficult fire because it's in an inhabited
    area," Greek fire chief Andreas Kois told state-run NET
    television. "The winds are strong and conditions are bad."
    The fire broke out amid a heat wave across southeast Europe,
    with temperatures in some areas surpassing 100 degrees. Three other
    fires were reported in southern Greece and on the western island of
    Zakynthos.
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    Default August 22nd

    KRIOPIGI, Greece (AP) - A wildfire raging in northern Greece has
    left dozens of people injured and forced several thousand others to
    flee hotels, holiday homes and campsites, authorities said Tuesday.
    The blaze was also linked to the death of a 41-year-old German
    man. Coroner Matthaios Tsoukas said he drowned after suffering
    heart problems while trying to board boats taking tourists who were
    stranded on beaches on the Halkidiki peninsula.
    At least 50 people - mostly Greeks - were hospitalized with
    breathing problems, and several people were being treated for
    burns.
    Officials said they are investigating whether arson was the
    cause of the blaze.
    "The damage in Halkidiki was great and the circumstances very
    difficult," Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said. "We
    express our regret for the death of the German tourist."
    Halkidiki governor Argyris Lafazanis said many tourists were
    being bused back to their hotels Tuesday after the fire receded
    from several resorts.
    Up to 1,000 British tourists fled the fire that tore through the
    resorts of Polychrono, Hanioti, Kriopigi and Pefkochori. Several
    hundred Germans, some 100 people from Scandinavian countries and
    about 100 Austrians also were involved in the evacuation.
    Romanian authorities said about 1,000 of their nationals were in
    Halkidiki but it was not clear how many were affected by the fire.
    Giorgos Kalatzis, minister for the administrative regions of
    Macedonia and Thrace, said conditions had improved Tuesday. "The
    firefighters are doing a good job," Kalatzis said.
    The blaze destroyed about 12,000 acres of forest, more than 50
    homes and dozens of cars, and left charred carcasses of farm
    animals strewn across blackened hillsides. Authorities declared a
    state of emergency late Monday.
    Ten water-bombing planes and helicopters assisted more than 300
    firefighters and soldiers, amid temperatures reaching 104 degrees
    Fahrenheit.

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    Post August 23rd

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Tourists and residents began trickling
    back to the Halkidiki peninsula on Wednesday, after several days of
    fires blackened large parts of the seaside landscape and destroyed
    holiday homes.
    The three-day blaze tore through nearly 12,000 acres (5,000
    hectares) of forest and farmland and led to the death of a German
    tourist. Nearly 50 homes were destroyed by the blaze, which forced
    the temporary evacuation of several thousand people, including many
    tourists.
    Residents returned Wednesday to inspect damage to their houses
    on Halkidiki's Cassandra prong, still heavy with smoke.
    Firefighters were still working to fully contain the fire.
    Another forest fire was burning for a fourth day in the southern
    Laconia region. That blaze has damaged more than a dozen homes and
    destroyed 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of forest and agricultural
    land, including many olive groves.
    More than 200 firefighters, four water-dropping airplanes and a
    helicopter were deployed from Gytheio to Areopolis and points
    farther south.
    The situation was worsened by high winds, although these
    diminished Wednesday.
    A five-day heat wave that added to the tinderbox conditions also
    began to subside. Temperatures had reached as high as 42 degrees
    Celsius (107 Fahrenheit).
    Other fires on the island of Zakynthos and in Arcadia in
    southern Greece were contained.
    Some residents criticized authorities for what they said was a
    slow response to the blazes. One of the fires, in the rugged Mani
    region in southern Greece, cut off water and power supplies to many
    villages.
    David Wiles, a spokesman for Britain's Federation of Tour
    Operators, which had about 1,500 clients vacationing in Halkidiki,
    said tourists who had been temporarily evacuated were returning to
    hotels in that area and the situation there was returning to
    normal.
    Fire officials have not ruled out arson in the Halkidiki fire,
    but on Wednesday said a fierce storm was the probable cause.
    "There were very strong winds and lightening, but no rain.
    These conditions can cause the fire to spread at great speed and
    make it difficult to stop," Greek fire chief Andreas Kois said.

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    Post August 24, 2006

    Some fires subsiding, others rekindling in parts of Greece
    ATHENS, Greece (AP) - A new forest fire raged early Thursday in
    southern Greece as stretched firefighting units tamed two major
    blazes that ravaged parts of the country.
    The new fire, near the town of Megalopoli in the Peloponnese,
    broke out late Wednesday and raged through fir forests on Mt
    Mainalo, fanned by strong winds.
    The Mainalo region - an environmentally fragile area - lies in
    rugged terrain far from the sea and difficult for water-dropping
    planes to reach.
    Two smaller fires in the Peloponnese were not threatening
    built-up areas, officials said.
    A major blaze that ravaged the southern province of Laconia was
    being brought under control Thursday, with six firefighting planes
    struggling against stiff winds that threatened to rekindle the
    blaze. Up to 20,000 acres (8,000 hectares) are believed to have
    been burnt in an area between Gytheio and Areopoli, while state NET
    television said hundreds of houses in several villages were
    destroyed.
    Five villages were evacuated, including local hotels, and the
    whole area suffered extensive power cuts because of fire damage
    sustained by the power network.
    In northern Greece, a huge fire that caused the temporary
    evacuation of thousands of residents and tourists was still raging
    in the area of Nea Skioni. Fires that devastated other parts of
    Halkidiki's Cassandra peninsula were mostly under control, although
    some minor has been reported.
    The Halkidiki fire caused the death of a German tourist and
    blackened up to 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares).
    Tourists were continuing to leave the area because of the fire,
    some by specially scheduled charter flights, although many others
    remained as the threat to humans subsided. Power was being restored
    to the region early Thursday.
    Stung by opposition Socialist criticism that its response to the
    crisis was inadequate and poorly prepared, the government has
    approved funds for quick payment of indemnities to those suffering
    losses in fire-ravaged areas. A panel of government experts was due
    to tour the charred Halkidiki region Thursday, and Interior
    Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said burnt areas would be urgently
    reforested and anti-flood measures stepped up.
    Experts say it could take up to 50 years to undo the damage from
    the Halkidiki blaze.

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    Post Indonesia 8/28/06

    Indonesia says to seed clouds to douse forest fires
    JAKARTA, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Indonesia will carry out cloud
    seeding this week to help extinguish forest fires, but plans to
    use cargo planes to drop water bombs on the flames have been
    ditched because of a lack of equipment, officials said on
    Monday.
    Indonesia has been under pressure from neighbours
    Singaporte and Malaysia to deal with recurring forest fores in
    Sumatra and Borneo that spread a thick haze across the region,
    deterring tourists and causing health problems.
    "Our target is that the hotspots could disappear by the 2nd
    (of September). If not all, at least the significant haze would
    not be there any more," Information Minister Sofyan Djalil told
    a news conference.
    A continuing flare-up in the fires in coming days could be
    embarrassing for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
    who is due to attend a summit in Singapore on Sept. 4.
    The island state near Sumatra frequently suffers from the
    haze caused by Indonesian forest fires.
    Research Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman told reporters cargo
    planes would start dropping salt to induce rain via
    cloud-seeding on Tuesday but a plan to bomb the hotspots with
    water had been shelved.
    "We have prepared 30 tonnes of salt. The areas which are
    difficult to reach via land will be dealt with from the sky. We
    will keep on doing until the clouds finish up," he said.
    On the water-bombing option, Kadiman said: "we don't have
    the equipment yet, so we'll use cloud seeding."
    Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie said last week that water
    bombs, each containing between 1,000 and 3,000 litres, would be
    dropped to complement artificial rain.
    On Monday, officials from regions where the smog originated
    said Singapore and Malaysia should help solve the problem
    because the countries benefited from Sumatra's thick
    rainforests.
    "Sumatra, which Singapore and Malaysia claim is exporting
    haze to them, is also exporting oxygen to them. Singapore and
    Malaysia should also bear the responsibility," said Zulkifli
    Nurdin, governor of Sumatra's Jambi province.
    While slash-and-burn land clearing is illegal in Indonesia,
    prosecutions take time and few have stuck.
    Sumatran authorities said more than 50 people were
    suspected of illegal forest burning in recent years and two had
    been jailed.
    However, critics say, the short jail terms had failed to
    act as a serious deterrent.
    Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar told Reuters in an
    interview on Thursday that the fires would disappear in two
    years. His target is more optimistic than some other officials,
    who see the seasonal fires going on for years.



    REUTERS
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    Post 9/6/06

    VANCOUVER (CP) - The Tatoosh wildfire threatening Manning Park
    remained uncontained Monday but grew to about 4,200 hectares with
    an evacuation alert still in effect, a Forests Ministry spokeswoman
    said.
    The Tatoosh blaze, which began on the U.S. side of the border
    last month, has prompted officials to maintain an evacuation alert
    that was issued earlier for residents of Eastgate, Manning Park and
    the Pasayten River valley.
    The alert means residents in the area may remain in their homes
    but should be prepared to leave on short notice.
    All 37 structures within the Pasayten valley have protection in
    place, including pumps, hoses and sprinklers.
    Fire information office Donna McPherson said the fire had not
    moved much since Sunday and crews would continue to build fire
    control lines while aircraft dropped water on hot spots.
    The Border Lake fire, burning entirely on the Canadian side of
    the border, also grew little since Sunday and was estimated at
    about 1,700 hectares, said information officer Dale Bojahra.
    There is also an evacuation alert in effect for the Cathedral
    Park Lodge. The Border Lake fire is about six kilometres from the
    Tatoosh fire.
    The massive Tripod fire, burning on the U.S. side of the border,
    was estimated at about 66,000 hectares Monday but showed no
    significant growth over the weekend.
    It is burning about 30 kilometres southwest of Osoyoos.



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