Fort McMurray wildfire burning so hot, only weather can stop it – Technology & Science – CBC News

The raging wildfire that has forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alta., and engulfed parts of the community is the kind of blaze that firefighters dread, but could become more common, according to experts.  Alternatively described by officials as “catastrophic,” a “multi-headed monster” and a “dirty, nasty” fire, the blaze is at least 10,000 hectares in area and has destroyed more than 1,600 structures. It could threaten the entire community, they said.  LIVE BLOG | Up-to-the-minute updates from Fort McMurray Wildfire rages in Fort McMurray as evacuees settle in Edmonton 2 babies born in Fort McMurray wildfire evacuation camp The wildfire became so intense Tuesday that the heat limited air operations over the affected areas. More than 150 firefighters are battling it on multiple fronts, with hundreds more from other provinces expected to arrive in the coming days.  Temperatures are expected to remain high, with a glimmer of hope on the horizon as a cold front approaches. It could, however, bring lightning with it, possibly starting more fires. It is a nearly impossible situation. The wildfire is an extreme example of the power of Mother Nature, but offers some interesting lessons about the science of wildfires.  ‘A perfect storm’ of fire The conditions that preceded the start of this fire were quintessential wildfire conditions: a seemingly endless supply of dry fuel on the forest floor and in the canopy, and intense heat. All that was needed was a spark, and whether it was caused by human error or lightning (an investigation is underway), once the spark was there, the fire became a beast.  “You hate to use the cliché, but it really was kind of a perfect storm,” says Mike Wotton, a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service and professor at the University of Toronto.   An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press) 1 of 15Hide captionToggle FullscreenAt beginning of image galleryShow Next Image (2 of 15) “There was a mild winter and not a lot of meltwater from the mountain snow pack. Now, a stale air mass has been sitting over Alberta, and it led to very low humidity. Then there was an early, hot spring, and everything got very dry. Then on top of that, it got windy.” The fire, burning between 800 C and 1,000 C, was first spotted when it was about 500 hectares in area (with each hectare about the size of a rugby pitch). It became what’s called a crown fire, which occurs when the tops of conifers, which tend to burn more easily than deciduous trees, become engulfed and the flames spread through the canopy.  “That’s when you start to see the 100-metre-high flames,” said Mike Flannigan, professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The fire was likely moving at a speed of up to five kilometres per hour and quickly became difficult to manage.  ‘Like spitting on a campfire’ Many fires in the Boreal forest are extremely unpredictable. The fire front, the area where it’s burning most intensely, is so hot, that crews can’t attack it from the front. Sometimes the fire front can be hundreds of metres long, according to Flannigan, so crews have to work at its flanks. Aerial attacks become less effective because they aren’t hitting the core of the fire.

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Source: Fort McMurray wildfire burning so hot, only weather can stop it – Technology & Science – CBC News

Utterly unthinkable – Peru Approves Genocide for Uncontacted Tribes | Earth First! Newswire

How to respond? What kind of possibilities four intervention are left?

“Peru has approved the highly controversial expansion of the Camisea gas project onto the land of uncontacted Amazon tribes – despite international outrage, the resignation of three ministers, and condemnation by the United Nations and international human rights organizations.Peru’s Ministry of Culture, tasked with protecting the country’s indigenous population, has approved plans by oil and gas giants Pluspetrol Argentina, Hunt Oil US and Repsol Spain to detonate thousands of explosive charges, drill exploratory wells and allow hundreds of workers to flood into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, located just 100km from Machu Picchu.The expansion could decimate the uncontacted tribes living in the reserve, as any contact between gas workers and the Indians is likely to result in the spread of diseases or epidemics to which the Indians lack immunity.Pluspetrol itself recognizes the devastating impact the expansion could have. In its ‘Anthropological Contingency Plan’ the company states that any diseases transmitted by workers could cause ‘prolonged periods of illness, massive deaths, and, in the best cases, long periods of recovery.’….”

via Peru Approves Genocide for Uncontacted Tribes | Earth First! Newswire.

 

When oil giant Shell first started explorations in the area, it led to the death of nearly half the Nahua tribe. One Nahua man recounted, ‘Many, many people died. People dying everywhere, like fish after a stream has been poisoned. People left to rot along stream banks, in the woods, in their houses. That terrible illness!’

The project violates Peruvian and international laws which require the consent of any projects carried out on tribal peoples’ land.

Last year, protests were held around the world to stop the expansion of Camisea, and more than 131,000 Survival supporters have sent a message to Peru’s President Humala demanding a halt to the oil and gas work on uncontacted tribes’ land. Today, Survival handed the list of the thousands of petition signatures to the Peruvian embassy in London.