Saturday, June 22, 2013

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "Undocumented And Unprecedented" Fires - Colorado Wildfire May Destroy An Entire Town; ALL 400 Residents Of South Fork Evacuated!

June 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - In South Fork, Colorado, fire may destroy the entire town. As dry conditions and high wind fuel the massive fires, authorities are concerned that they will continue to spread.

A helicopter goes in to make a water drop as flames consume stands of trees on U.S. Forest Service
land in the Lime Gulch fire near Conifer. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Officials have ordered all 400 residents of South Fork to evacuate immediately. They estimate that the chance of saving the town from the blaze is "low to moderate."

The Black Forest Fire has already claimed the lives of two and has destroyed 400 homes, making it the most destructive fire in Colorado history.

As reported by Business Insider, the fires have ravished entire neighborhoods and left hundreds of Colorado residents homeless. Animals are also a concern as many residents have evacuated ranches, bringing their animals along. For some, the animals are part of their livelihood.

As reported by 9 News, residents in South Fork, Colorado, fear the fires may wipe out their entire town. The West Fork Fire and Windy Pass fires are both threatening the small village. Those two fires alone are responsible for destroying nearly 30,000 acres.

The West Fork Fire has already hit the Rio Grande National Forest, which completely surrounds South Fork. Authorities have stated that the the West Fork and Windy Pass fires are aggressive and spreading fast. Their aggressive behavior has been referred to as "undocumented and unprecedented."

© Facebook

As reported by Yahoo News, the fires are currently spreading one mile every hour. They are now approximately seven miles away from South Fork.

South Fork is a resort town known for camping and hiking trails. It may be best known as home to the fictional "Kamp Komfort" as seen in National Lampoon's Vacation. The memorable scene featured a dog and a picnic basket.

WATCH: Wildfires rage in Colorado resort town.

Authorities speculate that the fire was started by a lightening strike. The hot, dry weather, combined with numerous dead trees has made it impossible to fight from the ground. All efforts to extinguish or contain the fire from above have been fruitless.

The South Fork Colorado fire is sure to cause some degree of devastation. Unfortunately, authorities cannot predict exactly how bad it will be. - Inquisitr.

EXTREME WEATHER: 1 Killed, 1 Hit By Lightning As Storms Sweep Through U.S. Plains, Upper Midwest!

June 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Storms that pummeled the northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Friday left at least one person dead and two other people injured, including one hit by lighting, officials said.

In South Dakota, severe winds damaged homes and killed a 63-year-old woman as she sheltered in a bathtub in the community of Lake Poinsett north of Sioux Falls, Hamlin County Sheriff Chad Schlotterbeck said. Her husband was injured and taken to a hospital.

Another person was struck by lightning and injured during the storm in the city of Lake Norden, Schlotterbeck said. He said numerous homes were damaged by what were believed to be straight-line winds but a count was not possible after darkness fell. "The power's out and we've suspended all operations until the morning," he said.

At least four tornadoes were seen sweeping through rural areas of Nebraska’s southern Panhandle, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Storm watchers reportedly spotted a twister and golf-ball-sized hail in the city of Sidney on Friday afternoon, the newspaper reported. There were similar sightings in the cities of Colton, Brownson and Potter.

Parts of southern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin were under flash flood watches early Saturday, the National Weather Service said. In St. Croix County, Wisc., 1.5 inches of rain in 40 minutes was reported, the Weather Service said.

The Upper Midwest may be due for a weekend of heavy rainfall, according to Dr. Greg Forbes, a severe weather expert with The Weather Channel. - NBC News.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: NASA Captures Steam Plume Eruption From Vanuatu's Mount Gharat Volcano!

June 22, 2013 - VANUATU - Just 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter, Gaua Island is actually the exposed upper cone and summit of a stratovolcano that is 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) high and 40 kilometers (25 miles) in diameter.

Astronaut photograph ISS036-E-5647 was acquired on May 31, 2013.
NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. 

Most of the volcano is submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. Also known as Santa Maria Island, Gaua is part of the Vanuatu Archipelago, a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean governed by the Republic of Vanuatu.

According to the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, the most recent report of eruption activity at Gaua was a steam plume observed on April 29, 2013. This photograph records subsequent steam emissions observed on May 31, 2013, by an astronaut on the International Space Station.

The steam plume extends east-southeast from its likely source at Mount Gharat (also spelled Garat or Garet), a historically active cinder cone located along the southwest flank of a 6 by 9 kilometer (4 by 6 mile) collapsed summit caldera. Gaua is one of several volcanoes monitored by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

The dark blue-green waters of Lake Letas, formed within the caldera, are visible at image center. The majority of Santa Maria Island is covered in green vegetation, with areas directly west and south of Mount Gharat covered with grey ash deposits. Patchy cloud cover is visible to the west and south, but is easily distinguished from the steam plume by its linear nature and brighter tone. - EO.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Dead Fish Washes Up On The Beaches Of Kirkland, Washington?!

June 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The Kirkland Parks Department said the die-off of the sardine-sized fish is a naturally occurring phenomenon during the spawning season.

Stickleback washed up on Juanita Beach in Kirkland. Photo credit: Jeanne Gustafson

A Patch reader asked why there are so many dead fish on Kirkland beaches, such as Juanita Beach, this week.

Though the tiny fish are no bigger than fingerlings at 2-4 inches long, they are adult Sticklebacks who have completed their spawning in Lake Washington, Kirkland Parks Operation Manager Jason Filan said.

Stickleback washed up on Juanita Beach in Kirkland. Photo credit: Jeanne Gustafson

The Sticklebacks are a predominant species in Lake Washington and spawn annually, followed by a natural die-off that leaves a mass of dead fish in the lake, usually between about mid-June and early July, Filan said. He said Washington fish biologists have told city staff that the phenomenon is natural and not indicative of a problem in the lake.

Most of the dead fish are eaten in the water by seagulls and other creatures, but some wash up on the beaches between Juanita and Houghton. The Parks Department cleans up those washed up fish daily and composts them, Filan said.

Stickleback washed up on Juanita Beach in Kirkland. Photo credit: Jeanne Gustafson

Less frequently, a similar phenomenon is seen on Kirkland beaches with Yellow Perch, which are much larger at an average 7-10 inches long. The next anticipated natural die-off of perch in Lake Washington is in 2015, city staff said. - Kirkland Patch.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Infectious Salmon Anemia - 800,000 Fish To Be Destroyed Due To Disease In Goblin Bay, Canada?!

June 22, 2013 - CANADA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has ordered that approximately 800,000 fish at a Gray Aquaculture site in Goblin Bay be destroyed.

File photo.

A statement released in the week of June 2 to June 8, by the CFIA read in part: ‘Given the similarity of the strain between the site and the other site where an Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was detected in December 2012, the CFIA has issued an Order to Destroy and is working with the industry in order to start the depopulation process.’

The CFIA has also placed control measures on the movement of people, vessels, equipment and fish onto or off the premises in order to prevent any potential disease spread.

According to CFIA policies, the Agency may order animals destroyed once receiving laboratory confirmation of ISA or once linking epidemiologically a new site to a previously confirmed site, which is the case in this situation.

In all cases where federally reportable aquatic diseases are suspected or confirmed, the goal is to prevent the spread of the disease to other aquaculture sites and to susceptible wild fish in the vicinity.

The CFIA said that the source of these events had not been confirmed. However, there are several possible ways that the fish may have contracted the ISA, including transfer from wild fish or from previously infected sites.

How situation may affect Gray plant in Hermitage

Clyde Collier, an official with Gray Aquaculture, said on June 7 that the company was waiting on the approval of the provincial government to start its operation at the Hermitage plant.

Collier said that the company has enough fish on hand to keep the facility in operation from mid to late June to the end of September of this year.

Collier said that Gray would not have any of its own fish to have the plant in operation from October 2013 to October 2014. The company is hoping to have some fish some another aquaculture company to process in that time period.

It should be noted, however, that the company had no guarantee as of June 7 that it could, or would, obtain fish from other aquaculture companies in the area. - The Coaster.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Officers Investigating Hundreds Of Dead Fish On River Llynfi In Bridgend, Wales?!

June 22, 2013 - WALES - Officers from Natural Resources Wales are investigating an incident on the River Llynfi in Bridgend where over 300 fish have died.

File photo.

The incident has been reported to Natural Resources Wales by a local angler.

Upon attending the site officers found the fish, which include trout, smolt, stone loach and bull heads and have started a number of tests to find the cause of the deaths.

Initial indications show water quality in the river to appear normal, and officers have noticed no sign of any visible pollution, or any odour from the river.

Officers are now taking a number of water samples to be analysed further.A spokesperson from Natural Resources Wales said:

“We’ll be monitoring the river closely over the coming days as we continue to try and find the source of what has caused these fish to die.

“We’d like to ask local anglers, and people walking near the river to get in touch with us if they notice anything unusual which they think could be related to this incident.

”People can contact Natural Resources Wales by calling the incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60. - News Wales.

EXTREME WEATHER: Destructive Winter Storm Batters New Zealand - Uprooted Trees; Ripped The Roofs Of Buildings; Damage Roads; About 1,500 Houses Without Power!

June 22, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND - Rain is continuing to cause havoc in the storm-battered capital as authorities respond to leaking roofs, surface flooding and slips.

Contractors start to remove a large tree from an Owhiro Rd home.

About 1500 households in the Wellington region are still without power today after the storm ripped roofs of buildings, bowled over trees and damaged coastal roads and sea walls on Thursday and Friday.

The low that brought the storm is expected to move away from the country tonight, but it is continuing to bring showers and snow flurries to parts of both islands today.

A Fire Service central communications spokesman said firefighters had been called to about 20 homes with leaking roofs in the Wellington region since 7am today.

The rain was also continuing to cause slips and surface flooding, according to regional Civil Defence authorities.

It was also causing problems in Canterbury, with surface flooding reported in parts of Christchurch and Selwyn.

A fell tree on Maungaraki Road.  MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

Trees ripped out of the ground in Petone.  MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

Man inspects damage to his roof. MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

A flood alert is in place for the Halswell River and firefighters are helping to put up sand bags in Leeston, about 45 minutes southwest of Christchurch, where flooding is threatening homes.

 A Fire Service southern communications spokeswoman said about 30 properties had reported surface flooding since 9am.

However, no houses had flooded yet and the sand bags were a precautionary measure.

In Wellington, the clean-up was continuing today in persistent heavy rain.

Civil Defence group chairwoman and Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan said hundreds of workers and volunteers had toiled in atrocious and often dangerous conditions to to get power restored, roads reopened, damaged roofs secured and fallen trees removed.

"However the clean-up is by no means complete - some areas are still without power. And with continuing rain there is potential for flooding," she said.

"We have reports that slips are still coming down in parts of the region and that there are trees and branches that could still come down. If in doubt, steer clear of storm-damaged trees and let the experts do the clean-up."

Ms Rowan urged residents to lend a helping hand to clear leaves and debris from drains, as council call centres were getting a steady stream of calls to report surface flooding.

Wellington City Council spokesman Clayton Anderson said the call centre has been dealing with a stream of requests all morning.

He said if homeowners think they are able to fix issues themselves, it would free up council workers to focus on more urgent jobs.

"If you are considering calling the council about a blocked drain outside your house, and you think that you could potentially deal with it yourself or you and a neighbour could deal with it yourselves, we'd ask you to get out there and muck in a bit.''

Most main roads around the region were now open, including the coastal road between Island Bay and Owhiro Bay, but motorists were advised to take care.

Council staff were today inspecting road access to the coastal community of Makara due to concerns the heavy rain may cause flooding in the area.

An unlucky car on Mount Victoria. Simon Hodge

Storm damage by the coast at Island Bay. PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

Damage to Wellington south coast's Esplanade. PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

Wellington Electricity said a large number of the 30,000 customers who were left without power by the storm now had electricity restored.

However, about 1500 customers still have no power including in Whitemans Valley, Titahi Bay, Wainuiomata, Miramar, Kingsley Heights, Makara, Ohariu Valley, Newlands, Johnsonville, Plimmerton, Mana, Days Bay and Porirua.

A Wellington Electricity spokesman asked residents without power to get in touch.

"Significant progress has been made to restore service to as many customers' electricity service as possible on Friday and overnight Saturday, however the scale of the event means that these remaining customers are taking longer to restore."

Council welfare staff were organising help for some residents who were still without power.

In Canterbury, up to 5mm of rain was falling an hour in the Halswell catchment area, and the river was still rising.

Environment Canterbury said the river had reached almost 6.3m at 1pm - up to 2m above normal - which was a significant level for the river.

Anyone close to the river is advised to monitor their situation carefully.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said it was too early to know just how expensive the damage in the Wellington area will be to repair, but claims were likely to run to tens of millions of dollars.

"A mixture of roof damage, windows blown in, and there could be water getting in as a result and damaging contents.

"Those are the likely things that would have come through.''

He said it would be a while before all the claims come in but it was already looking like a very expensive storm.

"We had severe flooding events in Nelson and the Bay of Plenty in April - that came to $36 million.

WATCH: Wellington cleans up after destructive winter storm.

"This, we don't know, but it will definitely be running in the tens of millions.''

Mr Grafton said while people in other regions had also suffered damage, most claims would come from Wellington.

Meanwhile, the Interislander ferry Kaitaki, which slipped from its moorings in Wellington this week, needs further assessment before it can go back into service.

The Arahura will take its place in the meantime.

Further bad weather last night meant Interislander services were cancelled, but a KiwiRail spokeswoman said this morning the Arahura sailed with no problems.

"It left at 8.15AM this morning, and the Arahura at the moment is the only ship that is sailing. It's operating to the Kaitaki timetable.'' - NZ Herald.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Vermont Officials Investigate Fish Kill In Fern Lake In Addison County?!

June 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Vermont state agencies are investigating the death of fish in an Addison County Lake and whether a pesticide sprayed to control mosquitoes caused the fish kill.

Image: Andy Noyes.

The fish kill was noticed in Fern Lake several days after a chemical was sprayed in the area to kill mosquitoes. A Fish and Wildlife biologist said the fish died from spawning stress and increasing water temperatures. An additional report by state aquatic biologist Rick Levey said the die off "may be related" to the spraying of the pesticide.

The area near Fern Lake is part of Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen Mosquito Control District that sprays pesticides to control larvae and adult mosquitoes.

"At this point, it's still an unknown for everybody," said Cary Giguere, of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, who oversees the pesticide program. "There are folks looking at what possible exposure levels could be in the water from an application."

Leicester resident Zachary Saxe reported the fish killed earlier this month.

"I have a small row boat; we cruised the shoreline. And it was every species in the lake: bluegill, pumpkinseed, perch, crappie, bullhead, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass. And in all different sizes," he told Vermont Public Radio ( ).

Gary Meffe, chairman of the board of the mosquito control district, said the district has sprayed the area for 20 years with no reported problems.

"We're quite confident that nothing has changed at this point and that the cause of the fish kill is most likely as the state biologist reported: high temperatures during spawning in a very shallow end of the lake that caused a number of species to die," Meffe said. - Greenwich Time.