Category: Fire

Eighty-thousand people in the Canadian city of Fort McMurray have been told to get out as a massive wildfire approaches.

Authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation order for the city, which is in the heart of the country’s oil sands region and is about 267 miles northeast of Alberta’s state capital of Edmonton.

The city’s main southern exit, Highway 63, has been closed due to the danger, leaving residents to head north.

Alberta has asked for help from other provinces to help fight the fire – which now stretches for 2,650 hectares – and airlift people from the city.

Already, nine air tankers, more than a dozen helicopters and more than 100 firefighters are battling the fire.

Premier Rachel Notley said her province was experiencing the biggest evacuation in its history.

She told a news conference: “We need to find more camps, we have secured spaces for about 6,000 people, we know we need to find more and that work is underway.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Tuesday night: “Tonight I spoke with Premier Notley and offered our government’s support to the people of Fort McMurray. We stand ready to help.”

A local radio reporter said a trailer park that was evacuated on Monday was on fire and flames were heading towards businesses.

Carina Van Heerde, with radio station KAOS, said: “It’s chaos on the roads. People are panicking. It’s gridlock on the roads. Flames are right next to a gas station.”

Carol Christian said she was very scared as she drove to an evacuation centre with her son and cat.

“When you leave… it’s an overwhelming feeling to think that you’ll never see your house again,” she said, her voice breaking.

“It was absolutely horrifying when we were sitting there in traffic. You look up and then you watch all the trees candle-topping … up the hills where you live and you’re thinking: ‘Oh my God. We got out just in time’.”

There are no casualties or injuries so far but Bruce Mayer, assistant deputy minister of Alberta’s Forestry Division, warned: “Tomorrow is expected to be a more intense burning day than today is.”

While weather forecasters expect a cold front to reach the city by Wednesday afternoon, it will bring stronger wind, which will make it tough for firefighters.

Last May, wildfires led to the evacuation of hundreds of workers from the oil sands area, leading to a 9% cut in Alberta’s oil sands output at the time. Operations this time, however, are reported to be unaffected.

Source: Whole City Evacuated As 80,000 Flee Wildfire

A fire  damaged a museum of natural history in the Indian capital that had scores of exhibits of plants and animals, among them a 160-million-year-old dinosaur fossil.

More than a hundred firemen battled for about three hours to douse the flames that broke out early on Tuesday on the top floor of the National Museum of Natural History.

“The damage is huge,” said Rajesh Panwar, deputy chief of the Delhi Fire Service, adding that some part of the museum was being renovated and that its fire fighting system was out of operation.

“If the fire provisions were working, the fire could have been controlled well in time,” he added.

Among the museum specimens was a 160-million-year-old dinosaur bone, the Times of India newspaper reported.

The extent of the damage would only be known once fire officials hand back the building to the department that manages the museum, said federal Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who ordered a safety review of India’s state-run museums.

The museum, in the heart of New Delhi, is popular with school children, but the fire broke out several hours before opening time.

Source: Blaze guts Delhi museum housing dinosaur fossil | Reuters

Up to 40,000 homes could be left without power after West Midlands Fire Service requested a pylon be turned off while they deal with a massive fire.

More than 100 firefighters are battling the blaze at a recycling centre in Birmingham.

More than 800 tonnes of mixed plastic, rubber and metal are on fire in the Saltley area, about 2km (1.2 miles) from the centre.

WMFS tweeted: “We’ve requested electricity pylon turned off for safety. This will happen at 7.45pm.

“Up to 40,000 homes in Yardley, Small Heath, Sparkbrook and Spark Hill may be without power overnight. More details to follow soon.”

Source: Homes Could Lose Power Amid Birmingham Fire

A large fire has hit at least two residential towers in the United Arab Emirates, in the third such incident in a little more than a year.

The fire struck one tower in Ajman emirate, north of Dubai, before spreading to an adjacent block.

Residents were evacuated, but several have reportedly been treated for breathing problems and minor injuries.

On New Year’s Eve, a large fire engulfed the luxury 63-storey Address Hotel in central Dubai.

The latest fire began late on Monday in the Ajman One complex, a development of 12 towers with some 3,000 apartments.

Videos posted by Ajman Police on Twitter showed flames engulfing most of one side of the tower, reaching several storeys high.

An earlier video showed a large amount of burning debris falling to the ground.

Source: Ajman fire: Huge blaze hits UAE residential towers – BBC News

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