Wildfires place several states under siege

Wildfires place several states under siege

14 July 2011

published by www.allheadlinenews.com

USA — As the parts of the nation are burning in numerous wildfires, firefighters are tasked with dousing the blazes in what seems like a battle on countless fronts fueled by mother nature. Many scientists have suggested that climate changes could be the culprit in some of the fires.

Between Jan. 1 and early July of 2011, just over 38,000 wildfires charred the United States in several fast moving blazes setting a record. So far this year, wildfires have consumed just under 4.9 million acres of forest and grassland, an area the size of New Jersey.

It’s more than a million more acres that consumed the same period in 2006, which then experienced a record 9.9 million acres devastated for the entire year. Georgia alone recorded almost 9,000 wildfires since July of last year.

Just this week alone blazes in Nevada, Texas, Georgia and Florida had crews tackling blazes in the air and on the ground.

A 29-acre wildfire in a rugged area of the Nevada National Security Site had crews making headway on Wednesday on containing the La Madre fire in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

A spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which operates the site, said crews were attempting to contain the Gritty Gulch fire on Rainier Mesa, about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“It is in such a remote area, the only way we could fight it is from the air,” said site spokesman Darwin Morgan in a George-Anne online report.

In parts of Georgia smoke from fires in the area are becoming a problem for the environment and for people’s health. The smoke not only makes firefighter’s jobs more difficult but residents in the vicinity even hundreds of miles away can irritation and breathing problems.

“There are three major fires right now and one small one not far from Savannah that is about 353 acres, near Hinesville,” said Bill Murphey, chief meteorologist with the Environmental Protection Department. “Seventy to 80 percent are contained, but there is still a lot of smoldering that is emitted from the fires.”

Pending shower storms may aid in the extinguishing of the fires however the storms also have the potential for lighting which could exacerbate the problem.

In northern Florida the largest fire there was spakred by a lighting strike. The Okefenokee Swamp was engulfed by over 280,000 acres since April and just in the last week alone more than 1,000 acres have burned.

However it’s the opposite problem in Arkansas, where dry conditions continue to fuel that state’s fires.

Since July began, crews with the Arkansas Forestry Commission have put out more than 116 fires that have burned nearly 1400 acres.

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