Tag Archives: Fire

Australia marks the quietest fire season in a decade | Instant News

FILE PHOTOS: Dead trees mark the scorched landscape around Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat after wildfires in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, Australia, 23 January 2020. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s most populous state has closed its quietest fire season in a decade, its fire service said, as the coldest and wettest summer in years offers a reprieve from the uncontrolled flames that have burned much of the country. the previous year. .

The current bushfire season has seen half the number of summons in the state of New South Wales, at 5,500, as the previous season, the NSW Rural Fire Service said on Wednesday, and burned 31,000 hectares compared to 5.5 million hectares destroyed across the country. state during the last season. Black Summer forest fires.

Less dangerous fire conditions are underpinned by the La Nina weather pattern, which saw Australia record its wettest weather in four years and coldest in nine years although it also has the downside of causing massive flooding in parts of the country’s east coast.

“Today marks the official end of the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period,” RFS said in a social media post.

This year’s fires blackened nearly half of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, home to the world’s only tropical forest that grows on sand, off the country’s northeast coast. In the state of Western Australia, fires have burned down more than 70 houses.

Australia’s climate has warmed by around 1.44 ° C (34,592 ° F) since 1910, while southern Australia has seen a 10-20% drop in winter rainfall between April and October in recent decades, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Wildfires ravaged an area the size of Turkey, killed 33 people and billions of animals, and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes from September 2019 to March last year.

This month, Australians on the east coast have been inundated by the worst rain and flooding in more than half a century, with tens of thousands of people being evacuated.

Authorities this week began recovery efforts at low tide.

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Edited by Shri Navaratnam


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A fire breaks out at a furniture factory in Karachi | Instant News


A fire broke out in the three-story building of a furniture factory in Liaquatabad at 5.30am Tuesday. Most of the items in the building turned to ashes as a result of the fire.

Police, rescue workers and firefighters reached the place after being informed of the incident.

However, further assistance should be sought from the fire department as the intensity of the flames continued to increase.

Meanwhile, the managing director of the Karachi Water and Waste Agency declared a state of emergency on the Sakhi Hasan hydrant and dispatched a water tanker to assist fire-fighting operations.

Read: Industrial units in the metropolitan city are in danger of fire

It took the firefighters eight fire auctions and five hours to put out the fire.

According to firefighters, the affected buildings were located in a congested area with narrow lanes, making it difficult for firefighters and water tanks to reach the scene.

Chief firefighter Mobin Ahmed told The Express Tribune that the fire affected the basement and second floor of the building, while the ground floor and first floor remained unaffected.

He said an investigation had been carried out to determine the cause of the fire.

According to a Rangers spokesman, paramilitary troops and rescue workers also helped put out the fire.

No casualties were reported in the incident.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2021.


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Australia experiences drought, fires, floods and robber rats | Instant News

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Rob Costigan bought a rugged farm in rural Australia three years ago with the dream of building it into something he could leave behind for his children.

One year later, he needed to truck water to combat an extreme drought. Then, Australia’s deadly wildfires raged towards the end of 2019, forcing Costigan to spend day after day turning out coals and running sprinklers on its roof to save his home, in an eerie setting akin to Armageddon.

Then last week, on the day her daughter Eva was supposed to celebrate her 11th birthday, there came a flood. Thankfully, his family had left to live in his brother’s house.

The water roared with such force that it lifted both the Costigan farmhouse and the second home where her father-in-law lived from their foundation, destroying both of them. The family is still picking up toys and clothes that are strewn everywhere – they even found their barbecue gas bottle stuck in a tree.

“Just don’t believe it,” said Costigan. “It feels like the world is against us. You work hard and then everything is cleared away in the blink of an eye. “

Costigan, 40, a road maintenance worker whose ranch is in the Hollisdale community about a five-hour drive north of Sydney, said he was grateful he had managed to avoid yet another catastrophe so far – a plague of rats that affected several farms in the region. Maybe, he hoped, the flood could help wash them away.

Australia has always been a land of bad weather, where drought and fire are part of the nation’s soul. But experts say that global warming is likely to make recent weather events even more extreme. The forest fires that raged until early last year killed at least 33 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes.

“This event was to be expected,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales. “But climate change has put them on steroids.”

He explains that paradoxically, a warming atmosphere can exacerbate droughts and floods. The extra heat can suck more moisture from the soil during the dry season. But warmer air can also hold more moisture, he says, so when it rains.

Several cities in New South Wales have set record rainfall for 50 or 100 years over the past week. The floods have killed two people in separate incidents, both trapped in their cars, and have forced more than 20,000 people to flee.

Dale Ward this week tried to clean up the rented apartment he owns, and where his daughter and their family live, in the city of Windsor. He said he was mopping up the mud after about 1 foot (30 centimeters) of water ran out, destroying a box of photos and other memorabilia.

“It’s like someone dropped three tons of dirt on your house, and then dropped a bucket of water on it,” he said.

Ward estimates it will take at least a month to make the place habitable again, with plumbers and electricians needed to fix everything.

Elsewhere, people are still facing plague of rats. Last year in eastern Australia, months of rain doused wildfires and ended a drought that has crippled the region for more than two years. That led to overgrowth on many farms, and an explosion in the rat population.

Pompy Singh, manager of the Spar supermarket in the town of Gulargambone, said they were starting to see rat numbers increase before Christmas. They used to set one or two traps a day, he said. They began to buy much bigger traps and set more until they set 20 at a time.

Suddenly they catch 100 or 200 mice every day. The creatures began to eat everything from lettuce and potato chips to dog food and even tobacco. Singh says they started keeping everything in fridge or closed container.

Still, he said, the rats kept coming. Several days, they chased up to 600. Even the refrigerator kept breaking when the mice chewed on the wires. Singh said the number of rats appeared to have decreased somewhat since the floods hit, although they still caught a lot.

And Australia’s problems may not be over. Some experts have warned people to inspect their shoes and clothes for deadly spiders, as swarms of them seek protection from flood waters by moving into residential homes.

Meanwhile, Costigan says he wants to rebuild. He’s spent too much time putting up fences on his fields – many of which survived the floods – and making other improvements to give up now. He added that he moved his small herd of cattle to higher ground before the floods hit and they all survived.

Costigan said he feels lucky his farmhouse is insured and is also grateful to family members and neighbors who have contributed to online funding to help his family rebuild.

He says these kinds of problems all come with living in Australia, and may even explain why the British originally treated the continent as a place to send their captives.

“They think it’s hell on earth,” he said. “What they don’t realize is that it’s a beautiful part of the world.”


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Recent Australian wildfires cause recorded atmospheric pollution | Instant News

By Donna Lu

Burnt fields and thick smoke cover Australia’s Kangaroo Island

NASA Earth Observatory / US Geological Survey

The 2019-20 bushfires in Australia are injecting large numbers smoke into the stratosphere, which led to record aerosol levels in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ilan Koren of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and Eitan Hirsch at the Israel Institute for Biological Research analyzed satellite data collected between 1981 and 2020 to see the effects devastating forest fire season in Australia have aerosol concentrations in the stratosphere.


While aerosol in the lower atmosphere have a life span measured in minutes to weeks, those that reach the stratosphere can survive there for months or years.

The researchers looked at the optical depth of the aerosol, which measures how much the aerosol contributes to the amount of reflected light the satellite picks up.

The optical depth levels of aerosols in the southern hemisphere in the early months of 2020 are at record levels: more than three standard deviations higher than the monthly average before forest fires, and comparable to those caused by sizeable volcanic eruptions.

Although all the fires were successfully extinguished by early May, the researchers noted that stratospheric smoke remained throughout the Southern hemisphere until at least July 2020, after which it becomes more difficult to separate the smoke signal from other sources.

The overall effect of aerosols on the stratosphere is one of the biggest uncertainties climate science, said Koren.

In the case of Australian wildfires, the smoke cools the Earth block some solar radiation, leading to marked cooling over cloud-free ocean regions.

“But [aerosols] it can also warm the stratosphere by absorbing some of the radiation [from the sun] and because it affects the process there, “said Koren.

File intensity and location Australian fires it is perfect for injecting smoke into the stratosphere. For example, hotspots are far enough south to lie at relatively high latitudes, where the boundary between the lower atmosphere and the stratosphere is thinner – about 9 kilometers, compared to 18 kilometers above the tropics. “When it is shallow, deeper clouds can penetrate it more easily and inject smoke into the stratosphere,” Koren said.

If climate change is generating more fires in future high latitudes, such as in southern Australia or northern North America, we can expect this phenomenon to become more common, Koren said.

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126 / science.abe1415

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Industrial units in the metropolitan city are in danger of fire | Instant News


Most of the factories in Karachi and across Sindh lacks basic security equipment and protocols. In many set-ups, there are no trained personnel to deal with emergency situations. Over the years this has resulted in several deadly accidents in industrial plants.

More often than not, the number of emergency exits and industrial building construction conflicts with an approved layout exacerbates the impact of the incident. The factory owners, the provincial labor department, the Sindh Building Control Authority and the federal Civil Defense Directorate had important responsibilities regarding the safety of factory workers in industrial units, which were not fulfilled.

The most gruesome fire incident in Karachi in recent years was the Baldia factory fire in 2012, in which more than 250 workers were killed. This served as an eye opener for the Sindh government and more labor-friendly laws were enacted two years later. Neither of them were forced.

The federal government recently awarded 50 fire brigade tenders and two tankers to Karachi, 24 of which had been submitted to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Fire Department and the remaining 26 for submission to industry associations and other entities.

Experts say that this is a good decision and will improve fire fighting response times but the need for better safety measures at the plant remains.

Eighty percent of factories do not have the facilities necessary to prevent the spread of fires.

According to firefighting experts, most catastrophic events start as small fires that turn into fires due to a lack of fire safety equipment in industrial units.

“Firefighters need time to reach the blaze. Therefore, the factory must have equipment on site to at least control the fire until the fire department arrives, ”said a local firefighter, speaking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.

Industrialists and factory owners say their locations are equipped with basic fire safety equipment and the long response times of the fire brigade were the causes of the fires that turned into catastrophic events.

A Sindh labor department official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said his department was in a sad state. “It doesn’t have the equipment or manpower it needs. Due to these factors, the staff failed to monitor gas leaks and other irregularities that occurred in the factory, “he said.

He said there were 18 inspectors for Karachi to oversee its 7,000 registered factories.

The officer said although strict laws had been formulated in recent years, the department’s capacity needed to be further increased.

“The position of field inspectors across the country has been upgraded to Class 14 but in Sindh, they are ranked in Class 9.”

Meanwhile, an official at the Civil Defense Directorate said there were problems in his department as well. “The majority of staff are not working. This department is responsible for ensuring safety measures at gas stations, CNG stations and factories, in addition to checking safety equipment and training staff. None of this was done. “

Civil Defense focus person, Shahid Masood, told The Express Tribune that 175 of the 308 posts in Sindh were still vacant. The department also faces a lack of funds and vehicles. Still, his department is trying to do its best, he stressed.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2021.


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