Connect with us
Slider

us news

Wildfires: 2 million acres of forest burned in California

Published

on

California- Wildfires have burned a record 2 million acres in California this year, and the danger for more destruction is so high the U.S. Forest Service announced Monday it was closing all eight national forests in the southern half of the state.

After a typically dry summer, California is parched heading into fall and what normally is the most dangerous time for wildfires. Two of the three largest fires in state history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling those fires and dozens of others more around California.

A three-day heat wave brought triple-digit temperatures to much of the state during Labor Day weekend. But right behind it was a weather system with dry winds that could fan fires. The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, was preparing to cut power to 158,000 customers in 21 counties in the northern half of the state to reduce the possibility its lines and other equipment could spark new fires.

Randy Moore, regional forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region that covers California, announced the national forest closures and said the decision would be re-evaluated daily. Campgrounds at all national forests in the state also were closed.

“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously.” Moore said. “Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire.”

Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said it’s “unnerving” to have reached a record for acreage burned when September and October usually are the worst for fires because vegetation has dried out and high winds are more common. The previous high was 1.96 million acres burned in 2018. Cal Fire began tracking the numbers in 1987.

While the two mammoth Bay Area fires were largely contained after burning for three weeks, firefighters struggled to corral several other major blazes ahead of the expected winds. Evacuation orders were expanded to more mountain communities Monday as the largest blaze, the Creek Fire, churned through the Sierra National Forest in Central California.

It was one of many recent major fires that has displayed terrifyingly swift movement. The fire moved 15 miles (24 kilometers) in a single day and burned 56 square miles (145.04 square kilometers).

Debra Rios wasn’t home when the order came to evacuate her hometown of Auberry, just northeast of Fresno. Sheriff’s deputies went to her ranch property to pick up her 92-year-old mother, Shirley MacLean. They reunited at an evacuation center.

“I hope like heck the fire doesn’t reach my little ranch,” Rios said. “It’s not looking good right now. It’s an awfully big fire.”

Mountain roads saw a steady stream of cars and trucks leaving the community of about 2,300 on Monday afternoon.

Firefighters working in steep terrain saved the tiny town of Shaver Lake from flames that roared down hillsides toward a marina. About 30 houses were destroyed in the remote hamlet of Big Creek, resident Toby Wait said.

“About half the private homes in town burned down,” he said. “Words cannot even begin to describe the devastation of this community.”

A school, church, library, historic general store and a major hydroelectric plant were spared in the community of about 200 residents, Wait told the Fresno Bee.

Sheriff’s deputies went door to door to make sure residents were complying with orders to leave. Officials hoped to keep the fire from pushing west toward Yosemite National Park.

The Creek Fire had charred more than 114 square miles (295 square kilometers) of timber after breaking out Friday. The nearly 1,000 firefighters on the scene had yet to get any containment. The cause had not been determined.

On Saturday, National Guard rescuers in two military helicopters airlifted 214 people to safety after flames trapped them in a wooded camping area near Mammoth Pool Reservoir. Two people were seriously injured and were among 12 hospitalized.

Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Rosamond, the pilot of a Chinook helicopter, said visibility was poor and winds increasingly strong during the three flights he made into the fire zone. His crew relied on night-vision goggles to search for a landing spot near a boat launch where flames came within 50 feet (15.24 meters) of the aircraft.

The injured, along with women and children, took priority on the first airlift, which filled both helicopters to capacity, he said.

“We started getting information about how many people were out there, how many people to expect, and that number kept growing. So we knew that it was a dire situation,” Rosamond said.

Rosamond called the conditions “extreme” and said it was one of the most difficult flying missions in his 25 years as a military pilot.

Record-breaking temperatures were driving the highest power use of the year, and transmission losses because of wildfires have cut into supplies. Throughout the holiday weekend, the California Independent System Operator that manages the state’s power grid warned of outages if residents didn’t reduce their electricity usage. But none had occurred by late Monday afternoon.

Pacific Gas & Electric warned it might cut power starting late Monday because of the increased fire danger. Some of the state’s largest and deadliest fires in recent years have been sparked by downed power lines and other utility equipment.

PG&E received criticism for its handling of planned outages last year. The utility said it has learned from past problems, “and this year will be making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for customers.”

In Southern California, crews scrambled to douse several fires that roared to life in searing temperatures, including one that closed mountain roads in Angeles National Forest and forced the evacuation of the historic Mount Wilson Observatory.

Cal Fire said a blaze in San Bernardino County called the El Dorado Fire started Saturday morning and was caused by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender. In eastern San Diego County, a fire destroyed at least 10 structures after burning 16 square miles (41.44 square kilometers) and prompting evacuations near the remote community of Alpine in the Cleveland National Forest.

California has seen 900 wildfires since Aug. 15, many of them started by an intense series of thousands of lightning strikes in mid-August. There have been eight fire deaths and more than 3,300 structures destroyed.

us news

The U.S. has blacklisted nine Chinese companies, including smartphone maker Xiaomi

Published

on

Hong Kong — The U.S. government has blacklisted Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. and China’s third-largest national oil company for alleged military links, heaping pressure on Beijing in President Donald Trump’s last week in office.

The Department of Defence added nine companies to its list of Chinese companies with military links, including Xiaomi and state-owned plane manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China .

U.S. investors will have to divest their stakes in Chinese companies on the military list by November this year, according to an executive order signed by Trump in November.

Xiaomi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Xiaomi Corp. overtook Apple Inc. as the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker by sales in the third quarter of 2020, according to data by Gartner. Xiaomi’s market share has grown as Huawei’s sales have suffered after it was blacklisted by the U.S. and its smartphones were cut off from essential services from Google.

Separately, the Commerce Department put China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) on the entity list, an economic blacklist that forbids U.S. firms from exporting or transferring technology with the companies named unless permission has been obtained from the U.S. government. The move comes after about 60 Chinese companies were added to the list in December, including drone maker DJI and semiconductor firm SMIC.

CNOOC has been involved in offshore drilling in the disputed waters South China Sea, where Beijing has overlapping territorial claims with other countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

“China’s reckless and belligerent actions in the South China Sea and its aggressive push to acquire sensitive intellectual property and technology for its militarization efforts are a threat to U.S. national security and the security of the international community,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

“CNOOC acts as a bully for the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate China’s neighbours, and the Chinese military continues to benefit from government civil-military fusion policies for malign purposes,” Ross said.

Chinese state-owned company Skyrizon was also added to the economic blacklist, for its push to “acquire and indigenize foreign military technologies,” Ross said.

Beijing Skyrizon Aviation, founded by tycoon Wang Jing, drew U.S. criticism for an attempt to take over Ukraine’s military aircraft engine maker Motor Sich in 2017. The concern was that advanced aerospace technology would end up being used for military purposes.

Continue Reading

us news

Nigerian Bishops call on President Muhammadu Buhari to hear the cries of Christians

Published

on

 

At the funeral of the Most Revd. Gregory Ochiaga, Emeritus Bishop of Orlu Diocese, who died on 29th December, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze called on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the call of religious leaders and deal with the growing violence in the West African country.

“We join our yokes to many courageous religious leaders, Catholics, and non-Catholics who have spoken out against government performance in the area of insecurity in Nigeria.

“There is no religious leader who will want the Government to fail, neither is there any genuine religious leader who truly feels the pain of their people will keep quiet when the life and property of the people are not secured.

“The Government should listen to the cries of Nigerians and take Nigerians seriously when we cry for a secured life, when we ask for a good opportunity for every Nigerians, and when we ask for the inclusion of every part of the country in the governance of Nigeria and not just a minimalistic approach to fulfilling constitutional quotas of representation.

“As we speak and constructively criticise the Federal Government, we assure the Government of our prayers and collaboration in seeking to build a nation where justice and peace reign. Where prosperity for everyone is achieved,” he said.

“We know that the level of insecurity in the country has reached an all-time high. The Nigerian people are no longer safe. “On a day-to-day basis, Nigerians are killed or maimed by bandits, cattle rustlers, Boko haram [responsible for the death of an estimated 1700 Nigerians in the first half of 2019 alone], herdsmen, kidnappers and various criminal elements that our security agents have not been able to deal with.”

President Buhari, who came to power on a mandate of strengthening Nigeria’s security forces and ending the endemic insurgency in 2015, has made much of these commitments during his re-election in 2019. As public trust in the government continues to decline, there is little to comfort the country’s embattled people.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Enter your email address

Featured

Media19 hours ago

വരയുടെ വർണ്ണങ്ങൾ തീർത്ത് കൊറോണകാലത്തു പാസ്റ്റർ ഡേവിഡ് കെ.എ (ജയ്മോൻ) ശ്രദ്ധേയനായി

  വെള്ളാപ്പള്ളി: വരയുടെ വർണ്ണങ്ങൾ തീർത്ത് കൊറോണകാലത്തു പാസ്റ്റർ ഡേവിഡ് കെ.എ (ജയ്മോൻ) ശ്രദ്ധേയനായി. ചുവരെഴുത്തുകളും വരകളുമായി ദൈവം നൽകിയ കഴിവുകൾ സമൂഹത്തിനു മുമ്പിൽ അവതരിപ്പിച്ചിരിക്കുകയാണ് ചർച്ച്‌...

Media19 hours ago

ഐ പി സി ചെന്നൈ മെട്രോ സെന്റര്‍ വാര്‍ഷിക കണ്‍വന്‍ഷന്‍ ഫെബ്രുവരി 5 ന്

ചെന്നൈ: ഐപിസി ചെന്നൈ മെട്രോ ഡിസ്ട്രിക്ടിന്റെ 23 മത് വാര്‍ഷിക കണ്‍വന്‍ഷന്‍ ഫെബ്രുവരി 5,6,7 തിയതികളില്‍ നടക്കും. ഡിസ്ട്രിക്ട് പാസ്റ്റര്‍ രാജു എം ചെറിയാന്‍ ഉദ്ഘാടനം നിര്‍വഹിക്കും....

Media20 hours ago

പ്രവാസികള്‍ക്കുള്ള ഏകോപിത തൊഴില്‍ പദ്ധതിക്ക് 100 കോടി; പ്രവാസി പെന്‍ഷന്‍ 3500 രൂപയാക്കി

തിരുവനന്തപുരം: തൊഴിൽ നഷ്ടപ്പെടുന്ന പ്രവാസികൾക്ക് ഏകോപിത പ്രവാസി തൊഴിൽ പദ്ധതി പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ച് കേരള ബജറ്റ്. പദ്ധതിക്കുവേണ്ടി 100 കോടി രൂപ വകയിരുത്തുമെന്ന് മന്ത്രി തോമസ് ഐസക് പറഞ്ഞു....

us news20 hours ago

The U.S. has blacklisted nine Chinese companies, including smartphone maker Xiaomi

Hong Kong — The U.S. government has blacklisted Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. and China’s third-largest national oil company for...

us news21 hours ago

Nigerian Bishops call on President Muhammadu Buhari to hear the cries of Christians

  At the funeral of the Most Revd. Gregory Ochiaga, Emeritus Bishop of Orlu Diocese, who died on 29th December,...

us news2 days ago

Earthquake in Indonesia; Seven killed, several injured

Jakarta: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island killed at least seven people and injured hundreds on Friday, the country’s...

Trending