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  • #46
    American, Tom Robinson, of Global
    Emergency Response, was personally
    present and did fly on missions
    in Greece on the IL-76 waterbomber
    where all other nations' aircraft
    (5) were wind-grounded.

    The aircraft was called a miracle
    and the aircraft that saved Greece
    in the local media.

    Comment


    • #47
      July 31st

      Firefighters put out blaze near seaside resort west of Athens
      ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Firefighters put out a blaze Sunday in a
      pine forest near a seaside resort west of Athens, authorities said.
      Eight water-dropping planes, six helicopters and 60 fire trucks
      were used to battle the fire, which broke out at Ayioi Theodori, 64
      kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital.
      Fire department officials said three neighborhoods on the
      outskirts of the popular resort were evacuated, but no houses were
      damaged and no injuries were reported.
      It was not immediately clear how much of the forest had been
      affected.
      Last week, fires ravaged forests across Greece as temperatures
      hovered at 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Greece's Civil
      Protection Authority had issued weekend fire warnings for most of
      southern Greece, including areas around Athens.
      On Thursday, a fire burnt 60 homes and large swathes of pine
      forest in the eastern Athens suburb of Rafina.

      (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

      Comment


      • #48
        August 3rd

        JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia struggled Thursday to
        contain fires in central Sumatra that have shrouded large parts of
        neighboring Malaysia in thick white haze.
        Forest fires and blazes set by local farmers were burning out of
        control in four provinces, said Firman, a Meteorological and
        Geophysics Agency official, identifying more than 150 hotspots.
        The sky was dark in parts of central Sumatra, but strong winds
        have for the last three days carried much of the smoke across the
        Malacca Straits and into Malaysia, he said.
        "We are very sorry about this," said Firman, who goes by only
        one name, adding that government workers have been focusing most of
        their attention on hardest hit Riau province.
        The other blazes were in the provinces of North Sumatra, Jambi
        and Kalimantan.
        Forests have been razed in several districts of Kalimantan, said
        Zainul Arifin, a local forestry affairs official. He said many of
        the fires were lit by farmers to clear land.
        Forest fires often break out in the region during dry spells
        because of illegal land-clearing fires or carelessly discarded
        cigarettes.
        Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia
        experienced theirs worst air quality levels in 1997, when brush
        fires in Indonesia destroyed some 10 million hectares (25 million
        acres) of vegetation, cloaking much of Southeast Asia with haze.

        (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
        Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
        Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

        *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
        On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

        Comment


        • #49
          Portugal and Spain August 4th

          LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Strong winds and sweltering temperatures
          fueled some 20 wildfires across drought-stricken Portugal on
          Thursday as the number of firefighters on duty nearly doubled
          compared to the previous day, authorities said.
          The day began with 10 major blazes and the number doubled by
          mid-afternoon as temperatures soared above 40 C (104 F). Nearly
          1,600 firefighters tackled the blazes, patrolled high-risk areas or
          cleaned up scorched areas, the Civil Protection Service said.
          They were supported by 457 vehicles and nearly two dozen planes
          and helicopters dropping water. On Wednesday, about 900
          firefighters were on duty.
          Flames engulfed about a dozen rural houses, including several
          holiday homes, officials said.
          Most fires were in heavily wooded areas of northern Portugal. A
          smoky haze from the fires covered Porto, the country's
          second-largest city, television images showed.
          Temperatures in some regions were forecast to reach 45 C (113
          F), the weather service said.
          The Fire Prevention Agency placed most of Portugal on maximum
          alert as the country endures its worst drought on record. The heat
          wave is expected to continue through Saturday.
          Fires have charred more than 68,000 hectares (168,000 acres) of
          parched woodland this year, more than half of it last month,
          according to the General-Directorate for Forests.
          In neighboring Spain on Thursday firefighters battled to
          extinguish a forest blaze a few kilometers (miles) from the
          northern city of Pamplona.
          The regional government of Navarra said three helicopters and
          five planes were brought in to tackle the fire on the Monte San
          Cristobal, north of the city.
          Seven elderly residents were evacuated as a precaution from the
          small village of Garrues, but authorities said it was no longer at
          risk by early evening. There was no word on the cause of the fire.
          Spain is experiencing its driest summer since record-keeping
          began in the 1940s and has seen a spate of forest fires.
          Last month, a blaze apparently sparked by a barbecue fire killed
          11 firefighters and destroyed more than 11,000 hectares (27,000
          acres) of woodland in a nature reserve east of Madrid.

          (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

          Comment


          • #50
            New fires ravage France's Var region

            PARIS, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Fires scorched bone-dry parts of France, with flames moving across the Var region Friday.


            Fire fighters were stymied in their efforts to battle the flames by a World War II-era powder magazine.

            The latest fire, which broke out Thursday afternoon, appeared to be under control by the evening. But high winds Friday morning fanned it back, and the fire burned some 500 acres.

            Complicating the battle is the grounding of Canadair planes used to fight the fire. The aircraft's used was halted after a Monday Canadair crash that killed two pilots.

            Officials have evacuated some 1,700 people from a camp site in the Var region out of precaution.

            Fires have also ravaged areas of the Bouches-du-Rhones and Auron, in southern France.

            France and other parts of western Europe have been hit by unusually hot and dry conditions this summer.

            Comment


            • #51
              Forest fires continue to rage in Russia's Far East region

              www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-07 17:45:43


              MOSCOW, Aug. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- About 116,000 hectares of forest have already been destroyed as 33 forest fires are raging in Russia's Far East region, said the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

              Amurskaya obl. and Khabarovsk, where 15 fires are within 10 km to people's living areas, have been the worst hit by the fires.

              In addition, the blazes have also charred 77,000 hectares of non-forest land in the region. Up till now, the area of woodland ravaged by fires in the Far East region is five times larger than that in the corresponding period of last year.

              More than 300 firefighters as well as 14 planes and helicoptershave so far been mobilized to tackle the fires, said officials of Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations.

              Wildfires break out in Russian's Far East region each year but fires of this year are particularly damaging to the eco-system. Experts pointed out that the primitive taiga having been destroyedthis year would need at least 500 years to recover completely. Enditem

              Comment


              • #52
                9:01 am: Two dead in Spanish forest fire as country suffers hottest weather this year



                By ASSOCIATED PRESS
                August 7, 2005

                MADRID, Spain - Two firefighters died as at least 10 forest fires swept across tinder dry landscapes amid soaring summer temperatures across Spain, officials said Sunday.

                The pilot of a small firefighting plane died when his aircraft crashed into trees Saturday as he attempted to spray water on the flames and a land-based fireman was later crushed by falling rocks as he worked to help control a blaze, police said.

                Many of the fires may have been started intentionally, leading Agriculture Minister, Elena Espinosa, to call for "greater responsibility," without elaborating.

                "Many of our forests now face a difficult road to recovery," Espinosa told reporters.

                Spain is in the grip of its worst drought in over 60 years with many rivers, lakes and reservoirs at less than 20 percent of their capacity.

                Temperatures reached 42 Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit), the hottest this year, in several southern regions on Saturday and were likely to stay there for at least one more day the national weather center said.

                Some fear Spain see a repeat of the high summer temperatures seen in 2003, when 19,000 people died across Europe.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Spain-LODDs

                  Two dead in Spanish forest fire as country suffers hottest weather
                  this year
                  MADRID, Spain (AP) - Two firefighters died as at least 10 forest
                  fires swept across tinder dry landscapes amid soaring summer
                  temperatures across Spain, officials said Sunday.
                  The pilot of a small firefighting plane died when his aircraft
                  crashed into trees Saturday as he attempted to spray water on the
                  flames and a land-based fireman was later crushed by falling rocks
                  as he worked to help control a blaze, police said.
                  Many of the fires may have been started intentionally, leading
                  Agriculture Minister, Elena Espinosa, to call for "greater
                  responsibility," without elaborating.
                  "Many of our forests now face a difficult road to recovery,"
                  Espinosa told reporters.
                  Spain is in the grip of its worst drought in over 60 years with
                  many rivers, lakes and reservoirs at less than 20 percent of their
                  capacity.
                  Temperatures reached 42 Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit), the hottest
                  this year, in several southern regions on Saturday and were likely
                  to stay there for at least one more day the national weather center
                  said.
                  Some fear Spain see a repeat of the high summer temperatures
                  seen in 2003, when 19,000 people died across Europe.

                  (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                  Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                  Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                  *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                  On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    France August 7th

                    HYERES, France (AP) - Hundreds of firefighters battled blazes in
                    two areas of southern France on Sunday that forced the evacuation
                    of campsites and temporarily cut electricity in 50,000 homes, fire
                    officials said.
                    Strong winds fueled the fires, which burned through forested
                    areas close to the towns of Hyeres, in the Var region of southern
                    France, and Manosque, further to the north in the foothills of the
                    Alps.
                    Authorities in the Var were forced to cut high-tension lines
                    that affected homes in Hyeres and two nearby towns, as some 300
                    firefighters battled blazes that had burned through 50 hectares
                    (125 acres) of forest, fire officials said.
                    Three campsites of vacationers were evacuated near the town of
                    Manosque in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region, regional official
                    Mohamed Saadallah told LCI television.
                    The blazes came as French firefighters brought into use a new
                    type of water-dropping plane - the Dash-8 - after suspending use of
                    Canadair planes following the death of two firefighters in Corsica
                    last week.
                    Concern about seasonal summer fires in southern France has been
                    heightened this year because of a severe drought affecting much of
                    southern Europe. Wildfires have burned more than 68,000 hectares
                    (168,000 acres) of woodland this year in Portugal.

                    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Two people die as 'deliberate' forest fires ravage Spain



                      8 August 2005

                      MADRID – Two people have died in the struggle to put out forest fires which are ravaging parts of Spain.

                      Francisco Javier Tirado Rodriguez, 29, died on Saturday helping to fight a blaze started that day in Casavieja in Ávila. Rodriguez, who is well-known in his home town for his work protecting the environment, was hit by rocks which became loose during the fire.

                      On Monday, officials said the fire had destroyed an estimated 800 hectares of forest and was believed to have been started deliberately.

                      On Sunday, in Galicia, in Orense, Antonio Diaz, 50, died as he piloted a plane spraying water over an area engulfed in flames.

                      On Monday, more than 27 fires were stillburning throughout the country, many started during the weekend which experts had warned would be especially hot and dry.

                      Fire fighters in the province Castilla y Leon were tackling 11 fires which had destroyed some 4,100 hectares, with the most serious being highlighted as that at Avila and a second in La Cabrera in Leon, which had destroyed 3,100 hectares.

                      The farming and fishing minister Elena Espinosa, who visited the family of Rodriguez to give her condolences, called for people to behave responsibly. She pointed out that the vast majority of the forest fires this summer have been started deliberately and stressed "the majority of the burnt woods will be difficult to restore".

                      For her part, the environment minister Cristina Narbora admitted that the government needed to do more to tackle forest fires.

                      "The government isn't satisfied with how it has acted," she said. "However, it isn't resigned; it's committed."

                      There were "many faults to be addressed," she added. However, the minister said the conservatives were wrong to accuse the socialist government of "letting people die" and "little short of involuntary homicide".

                      "There hasn't been a single year in history when there has been so little rain," she said, adding that those circumstances made exceptional measures necessary. The minister said she would consider vetting local festivals which used fireworks and bonfires, in addition to the ban the government has already introduced on smoking and lighting bonfires in certain zones.

                      Narbora said she still felt bitterness, anxiety and powerlessness when she thought of the 11 volunteer firefighters who lost their lives in the Guadalajara fire last month.

                      She pointed out that during the conservative PP government's eight years in power, more than a million hectares were destroyed in forest fires and 32 people died.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        August 9th

                        Spanish firefighters continue battle against wildfire in south
                        MADRID, Spain (AP) - Firefighters battled a three-day-old
                        wildfire Wednesday in a national park in southern Spain, helped by
                        water-dropping aircraft and firebreaks.
                        Authorities estimate that the fire in the Sierra de Cazorla area
                        of Jaen province - along with two others in the same region that
                        have been brought under control - has burned some 4,000 hectares
                        (9,900 acres) of woodland.
                        Thirty-eight firefighting aircraft were working to smother the
                        fire, the state-run news agency Efe reported.
                        Firebreaks set up Tuesday on three sides of the blaze were
                        helping halt the flames. Some 1,000 people have been evacuated from
                        the area as a precaution.
                        The fire, believed to have been sparked by lightning, started
                        late Sunday.
                        Spain is experiencing its driest summer since record-keeping
                        began in the 1940s, and has seen more than 50,000 hectares (123,550
                        acres) of woodland ruined by about 5,000 forest fires so far this
                        year.

                        (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                        Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                        Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                        *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                        On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          August 10th

                          By ANGELA DOLAND
                          Associated Press Writer
                          PARIS (AP) - They're the daredevils of Europe's skies: pilots
                          who swoop through blinding smoke, soaring flames and bone-jarring
                          turbulence to drop water onto summer wildfires that rip through
                          parched forests.
                          On Thursday, the pilots of France's fleet of Canadair
                          water-dumping planes will return to the skies after a 10-day
                          grounding at the height of fire season - restoring firefighters
                          with one of their most powerful weapons.
                          The planes were grounded Aug. 1 when two Canadair CL 415 pilots
                          plunged to their deaths on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
                          Though the cause of the crash is still not clear, safety experts
                          have checked all 10 remaining planes in the fleet and pronounced
                          them fit to fly, the Interior Ministry said in a statement
                          Wednesday.
                          The temporary loss of the Canadairs put extra pressure on
                          firefighters on the ground. The Canadair fleet is the main airborne
                          firefighting force in France. Without them, firefighters were left
                          with just water-carrying helicopters and other planes that are best
                          suited to combatting small fires.
                          This weekend, French authorities brought in more than 1,000
                          firefighters and 250 vehicles from around the country to help
                          combat Mediterranean fires, said civil defense spokesman Lt. Col.
                          Eric Soupra.
                          Without the Canadairs to douse the flames, "fires are more
                          virulent, and you need to take all possible security measures,"
                          Soupra said in a telephone interview.
                          In southern Europe, forests are too small and too populated to
                          employ the North American technique of letting fires burn out
                          naturally. Despite the massive efforts, fires burn throughout the
                          summer here, sometimes spreading to homes, disrupting transport
                          links and forcing the evacuations of people from houses and camp
                          sites under threat.
                          The European Union's head office said Wednesday that this year
                          was on track for an increase in fires across Europe - comparable to
                          the disastrous 2003 season. Then, 40 people were killed and 740,000
                          hectares (1.8 million acres) - an area almost equivalent to Corsica
                          - of forests burned.
                          For firefighters, this summer has already been deadly.
                          In Spain, which is suffering through the driest summer since
                          record-keeping began in the 1940s, a blaze apparently sparked by a
                          barbecue fire killed 11 firefighters last month.
                          Also in Spain, the pilot of a small Polish-made Dromader M-18
                          water-carrying plane crashed into trees Saturday as he attempted to
                          douse a fire near the Portuguese border. His death, and the death
                          of the two French pilots, has drawn attention to the daring flyers
                          who risk their lives.
                          France's Canadair pilots are the creme de la creme of aviation:
                          Most are former fighter pilots, stunt flyers or members of the
                          French aircraft carrier fleet.
                          Ludovic Piasentin, one of the men killed in Corsica, was a
                          former fighter pilot who had racked up more than 10,000 flight
                          hours. His co-pilot, Jean-Louis de Benedict, was a longtime Air
                          Force flight engineer who got his pilot's wings in 1995.
                          Canadairs - squat, round-nosed planes that look something like a
                          flying boat - fill their 6,137-liter (1,595-gallon) tanks by
                          landing on lakes, oceans and rivers and scooping up water. Pilots
                          make trips back and forth between the water source and the fires,
                          dropping into heavy turbulence zones to douse the flames.
                          "It's extremely violent, it takes place at low altitude, there
                          is heavy turbulence and wind, the planes are put into complex
                          situations," said Dominique Pipat, a filmmaker who spent three
                          months preparing a documentary about the Canadair pilots.
                          "It's serious piloting - they're not flying from point A to
                          point B in a Boeing. ... They love the adrenaline. They're very
                          humble about what they do."
                          Piasentin and de Benedict were buried Friday. They were awarded
                          posthumous Legion of Honor awards. Interior Minister Nicolas
                          Sarkozy praised them as "the very definition of courage."

                          (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Malaysia/Indonesia

                            Malaysia seeks crisis talks over choking haze
                            By Mark Bendeich
                            KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Malaysia sought crisis
                            talks with its biggest neighbour on Thursday as Indonesian
                            forest fires smothered peninsular Malaysia in a choking haze,
                            threatening public health and raising fears for its economy.
                            Much of peninsular Malaysia, including the capital, has
                            been shrouded in thick smog for a week, presenting the country
                            with its worst pollution crisis since 1997, when smoke mainly
                            from Indonesian forest fires blocked out skies across Southeast
                            Asia.
                            Malaysia sent its environment and commodities ministers on
                            Thursday to the Sumatran city of Medan where, according to
                            Malaysian media, they were due to meet Indonesia's forestry
                            minister and officials from its environment ministry.
                            "I am going there to go on site and see what is happening,"
                            Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Peter Chin told
                            Reuters by phone on Thursday as he prepared to fly to Sumatra.
                            Fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which is a short
                            ferry-ride away from peninsular Malaysia's west coast, flare up
                            around this time every year as farmers, plantation owners and
                            miners burn forests to clear land during the dry season.
                            Malaysia has offered to help Indonesia fight the fires, but
                            Chin declined to say what it could realistically do to help
                            solve the problem or what he hoped to achieve from the Medan
                            talks.
                            Malaysian companies own large tracts of oil-palm plantation
                            in Sumatra. Asked if some of these might also be to blame for
                            the fires, he added: "We will see what happens (during the
                            visit)." In Indonesia, Malaysian-owned operations are often
                            said to be behind the burning or to be turning a blind eye to
                            it.
                            TOURISTS SEEK REFUGE
                            Haze from Indonesia has become an almost annual problm in
                            Malaysia where it is often made worse by its own dry-season
                            fires, but this time the smog has reached dangerous levels,
                            according to health authorities.
                            Asthma attacks have soared and tourists are holing up in
                            their hotels or seeking refuge in air-conditioned shopping
                            malls at one of the busiest times for the country's tourism
                            industry.
                            Schools in worst-affected areas are closed for the rest of
                            the week and a major port operator on the west coast suspended
                            operations on Wednesday evening. An airport on the outskirts of
                            Kuala Lumpur was closed on Wednesday for five hours.
                            A ship was reported to have run aground this week, and
                            vessels plying the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's
                            busiest sea lanes, are warned to take care because of poor
                            visibility.
                            The government has said it will declare an emergency if the
                            pollution index hits 500, a level considered hazardous. Kuala
                            Lumpur registered 181 on Wednesday, with Putrajaya, the
                            administrative capital, at 224, and Port Klang at 410.
                            Malaysia is starting to publish daily pollution
                            measurements, reversing a 1997 decision to keep the figures
                            secret out of fears this would scare off tourism, a major
                            industry generating 29.65 billion ringgit ($7.92 billion) in
                            income last year.
                            The haze has hurt the local stock market, dragging down
                            shares in the airport, airlines and tourism industries.
                            ($1 3.746 Malaysian Ringgit)
                            (Additional reporting by Jerry Norton in Jakarta)
                            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                            On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Europe

                              By CONSTANT BRAND
                              Associated Press Writer
                              BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Drought and human negligence are to
                              blame for the recent rise in forest fires across Europe, the
                              European Union's head office said Wednesday, warning the situation
                              in southern Europe remained precarious.
                              Officials and experts said recent years have seen an increase in
                              forest fires in the Mediterranean region, especially in EU
                              countries Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and France.
                              It said while 2004 saw a dip in fires, this year was on track
                              for a dramatic increase across Europe, comparable to the disastrous
                              2003 forest fire season, which saw 740,000 hectares (1,828,540
                              acres) of forests burned to the ground and claimed the lives of 40
                              people.
                              "The situation in Portugal, Spain and also the south of France
                              is pretty critical," said Paulo Barbosa, from the EU's Institute
                              for Environment and Security. He said preliminary figures compiled
                              from EU member states up to the end of July, showed that 20 people
                              had died in some 70,000 forest fires.
                              He said "only 10 to 15 percent (of fires) are started by
                              natural causes," pointing to this summer's deadly blaze in Spain.
                              Eleven firefighters trying to extinguish a forest fire sparked
                              by a smoldering barbecue were killed last month in central Spain.
                              That fire destroyed more than 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of
                              pine forest and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people from
                              their villages in drought-stricken Spain.
                              Spanish firefighters on Wednesday were battling a three-day-old
                              wildfire in a national park in southern Spain, helped by
                              water-dropping aircraft and firebreaks.
                              Authorities estimate that the fire in the Sierra de Cazorla area
                              of Jaen province - along with two others in the same region that
                              have been brought under control - has burned some 4,000 hectares
                              (9,900 acres) of woodland there. Some 1,000 people have been
                              evacuated from the area as a precaution.
                              In Portugal, where authorities reported no wildfires for the
                              first time in 11 days as light rain and cooler temperatures settled
                              over large parts of the country.
                              Firefighters brought a three-day blaze in the Serra da Estrela
                              National Park under control after nightfall Tuesday, the Civil
                              Protection Service said. The fire was one of the worst in the
                              history of the park, which was established in central Portugal
                              almost 30 years ago.
                              A heat wave during Portugal's worst drought on record brought a
                              spate of summer forest blazes, which have killed two people,
                              injured dozens and forced the temporary evacuation of hundreds from
                              outlying villages.
                              Environmental groups blame the fires on weak environmental
                              education among rural communities and inadequate forest management
                              policies.
                              Police suspect many of the fires were set deliberately.
                              Detectives have arrested more than 80 people this year on suspicion
                              of starting wildfires.
                              Barbosa said EU risk assessments, which are given on a daily
                              basis to national forestry and civil protection services, showed
                              that during a normal season the highest risk-countries in the
                              Mediterranean area suffer some 60,000 fires per year, on average -
                              between May and October. "More than 400,000 hectares (988,400
                              acres) of forest burn in average every year," Barbosa said.
                              Preliminary figures for this season assembled by the EU's
                              so-called European Forest Fire Information System, EFFIS, show that
                              2005 will be a very bad year.
                              Barbosa said by early July, some 76,000 hectares (187,796 acres)
                              of forests were already damaged in Portugal, over 37,000 hectares
                              (91,427 acres) in Spain, 14,000 hectares (34,594 acres) in Italy
                              and 4,930 hectares (12,182 acres) in France.
                              In its annual forest fire report for 2004, the EU said some
                              129,600 hectares (320,242 acres) of forest land was burned in
                              Portugal, 127,900 hectares (316,041 acres) in Spain, 55,000
                              hectares (135,905 acres) in Italy, 10,500 hectares (25,946 acres)
                              in France, and 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) in Greece.
                              The EU's forest fire risk center assembles information from
                              satellite images, and also takes into account drought conditions
                              and weather forecasts.
                              France and other countries in the region have already imposed
                              strict restrictions on the use of water, and have also moved to
                              tighten rules on the use of camp fires, barbecues and engines in
                              risk areas.
                              ---
                              On the Net: http://inforest.jrc.it/effis/

                              (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                              Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Malaysia Chokes on Indonesia Forest Fires
                                Mail this story to a friend | Printer friendly version

                                MALAYSIA: August 11, 2005


                                KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia choked on its worst pollution crisis in eight years on Wednesday, as forest fires from neighbouring Indonesia smothered the capital in thick smoke, forcing schools, an airport and a port operator to shut down.


                                Asthma attacks soared and tourists huddled in air-conditioned shopping malls at one of the busiest times for the country's tourism industry, prompting the government to consider emergency measures and to offer its neighbour help in fighting the fires.

                                "The situation is not getting better, it is getting worse," Environment Minister Adenan Satem told a news conference.

                                Adenan said after a cabinet meeting that discussed ways to clear the haze that he and the commodities minister would travel to the Indonesian capital Jakarta as soon as possible to offer Malaysia's help in response to a plea Indonesia made to ASEAN nations.

                                The government would declare an emergency if the pollution index hit 500, a level considered hazardous, he said. Kuala Lumpur registered 181 on Wednesday, with Putrajaya, the administrative capital, at 224, and Port Klang at 410.

                                Malaysia is starting to publish daily pollution measurements, reversing a 1997 decision to keep the figures secret.

                                The API numbers have been kept secret in the past for fear of hurting the tourism industry. Former premier Mahathir Mohamad, whose administration kept the data secret, wore a face mask against the smog at a public function on Wednesday.

                                In the capital, wisps of smog swirled around the gleaming Petronas Towers, occasionally hiding the iconic structures from people in the streets below, many of whom wore masks or held up handkerchiefs to block out the worst of the acrid smoke.

                                "This is the worst thing in Malaysia," said a tourist from the United Arab Emirates accompanied by his wife and three daughters, who gave his name only as Ahmad. "We're concerned for our health...It's very bad."


                                SHIP RUNS AGROUND

                                Kuala Lumpur, swarming with big-spending Middle East tourists at this time of year, warned against traffic hazards after a ship ran aground at nearby Port Klang and prepared to declare an emergency in the worst-hit regions.

                                An airport close to the capital shut down for five hours and a major port operator on the west coast, Northport, suspended operations from 0900 GMT. Schools in two badly hit towns near Kuala Lumpur were ordered to close for the rest of the week.

                                The haze also crept into the stock market where shares in the country's main airports operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd , and in national carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd fell 4.2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

                                Air purifiers were "selling like hot cakes", said Azmi, a doctor. A long queue of people waited to buy air ionisers and purifiers in a swanky shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, he said.

                                Domestic media said the haze triggered a surge in respiratory diseases, almost doubling cases of asthma in some areas, and boosting breathing problems 60 percent elsewhere.

                                "If the API exceeds 400 we want schools to close," Health Minister Chua Soi Lek told reporters. "We want people to cut down on outdoor activities. They must wear masks when outdoors."

                                The US embassy ordered all employees working out-doors to wear masks. Motorists needed to switch on their headlights to be seen by other road users in the middle of the day.

                                The haze has cut visibility in parts of the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, to about 1 km (0.6 miles), meteorological officials said.

                                (Additional reporting by Jalil Hamid and Mark Bendeich)

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