wildfires

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Teen Forced to Flee Wildfire on Foot Doesn't Make It

Kai Shepherd became separated from parents, sister

(Newser) - The death toll now stands at 40 in the wildfires that have been raging in California for more than a week. One of the many tragic stories to emerge from the catastrophe is that of 14-year-old Kai Shepherd, who became separated from his family and burned to death as they... More »

In Midst of California Fire Wreckage, an Eerie Sight

Mailman continues to deliver mail, by customer request, to destroyed neighborhood

(Newser) - The wildfires raging in California have killed at least 31 people and destroyed thousands of businesses and homes, including that of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz . The Washington Post reports that the death toll has reached "historically grim heights," with entire neighborhoods gutted and authorities facing the gruesome task... More »

As Fire Raged, Calif. Couple Hid in Pool for 6 Hours

Death toll now at 31; emergency far from over

(Newser) - The confirmed death toll from the California wildfires is now at least 31—and it would probably be two higher if Jan and John Pascoe hadn't remembered their neighbors' pool. The couple, trapped as flames surrounded their mountaintop Santa Rosa home, ended up spending six hours sheltering in the... More »

Husband, 100, Dies Halfway to Wife's Room in Calif. Wildfires

'They were happy right up until the last minute,' son says

(Newser) - At least 17 people have been confirmed dead in the devastating wildfires raging in California —including a couple who died together after having been married for 75 years. Charles Rippey, 100, and Sara Rippey, 98, died Sunday night when a fast-moving wildfire engulfed their Napa County home. Mike Rippey,... More »

'Right Now We Need to Grieve' in Sonoma County

At least 10 dead as fires rage in wine country

(Newser) - "We are a resilient county; we will come back from this," Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane said Monday after devastating wildfires swept through the region. "But right now we need to grieve." Seven people died in her county, making the total at least 10 across northern... More »

Teen Is Main Suspect in Raging Oregon Wildfire

Witness says she saw him throw a firecracker into canyon

(Newser) - A wildfire that started over the weekend in Oregon torched at least 10,000 acres, stranded more than 150 hikers, and forced the evacuation of multiple towns—and officials think a teen fooling around with firecrackers may be to blame. The Columbian reports that a 15-year-old boy from Vancouver, Wash.... More »

As LA's Biggest Wildfire Blazes, Hundreds Flee

La Tuna wildfire near Burbank has already burned 5K acres amid 'erratic' winds

(Newser) - Houston is underwater, but Los Angeles is on fire as the largest wildfire in its history burned at least 5,000 acres and forced hundreds of people to evacuate amid scorching temperatures and unpredictable winds of up to 50mph. "The La Tuna Canyon Fire is an emergency that requires... More »

6 People, Thousands of Cattle Killed in Devastating Wildfires

Blaze was biggest in state history

(Newser) - Devastating wildfires have set a record that the Kansas Division of Emergency Management says "it never hoped to see and never hopes to surpass." More than 500,000 acres in two counties in the southwest of the state have burned this week in what is believed to be... More »

Teens Could Get Life in Tenn. Wildfire

'Everything is on the table,' prosecutors say

(Newser) - Everything, including murder charges that could bring a sentence of life in prison, is "on the table" for two teenagers accused of starting a devastating wildfire in Tennessee, prosecutors warn. The pair, whose names and ages have not been publicly released, were charged with aggravated arson earlier this month... More »

Firefighter Pleads Guilty to Setting Fires So He'd Get Paid

The part-time firefighter only got paid for hours spent fighting fires

(Newser) - A 31-year-old Cherokee man in North Carolina pleaded guilty Monday to setting seven fires in order to get paid for putting them out, the Charlotte Observer reports. Part-time firefighters hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs only get paid for the hours they spend fighting fires or doing maintenance on... More »

For Gatlinburg's Mayor, Fire Brought Personal Devastation

He lost his home and 7 other buildings

(Newser) - Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner has been the voice of calm while the Tennessee city battled a 15,000-acre wildfire that killed at least seven people before it was put out with help from some much-needed rain. That didn't change Thursday as he noted cleanup efforts are now underway and... More »

Father Searches for Family Amid Horrific Tenn. Wildfire

'We are just hoping for a miracle'

(Newser) - More than 14,000 people have evacuated as a wildfire engulfs the Tennessee cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, with hundreds of them ending up in emergency shelters around the area. Michael Reed hopes his wife and their young daughters are among them. Reed tells WATE he spoke to his... More »

'Apocalypse': Tenn. Wildfires Force Aquarium to Leave 10K Animals

Flames threaten Ripley's, Dollywood as much-needed rain finally falls

(Newser) - One of at least 14 wildfires raging in Gatlinburg, Tenn., is threatening thousands of animals at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Flames engulfed at least 30 buildings in the area late Monday—including a 16-story hotel outside the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge—leading aquarium employees to be... More »

This State's 102M Dead Trees 'Should Be Concerning for Everyone'

California's wildfires are getting more common and more dangerous

(Newser) - In drought-stricken California, 36 million trees have died since May, the Los Angeles Times reports. They're part of 62 million trees that have died in the state since 2016 and 102 million trees that have died over the past six years. "It's not beyond the pale to... More »

Bacteria May Be Weapon Against Cheatgrass Invading the West

Cheatgrass now 'dominates' the Great Basin

(Newser) - Cheatgrass is about as bad as it sounds. The invasive plant sends out roots in the spring that deprive nearby plants of water, then dries out in the summer as it transforms into extremely effective tinder for wildfires to then kill competing nearby native plants, not to mention the habitat... More »

Illegal Campfire Burns Area the Size of San Francisco

1 man has died in fire-related accident

(Newser) - It started with a small, illegal campfire. Now an area the size of San Francisco has been scorched in a deadly blaze ripping through California's Monterey County since July 22. State fire officials announced the cause of the blaze, dubbed the Soberanes Fire, in a closed area of Garrapata... More »

Massive Calif. Wildfire Moving Like 'Freight Train'

Fire officials say out-of-control Sand fire near LA has now spread to 33K acres

(Newser) - More than 1,600 firefighters fought an uncontrollable wildfire Sunday in California's Santa Clarita Valley, an inferno that fire officials say grew three times larger over the weekend due to hot, arid conditions and winds up to 20mph, NBC News and the Los Angeles Times report. More than 33,... More »

Alabama Campers Arrested Over Colorado Wildfire

More than 600 acres have been scorched, 2K people evacuated

(Newser) - More than 50 Colorado National Guardsmen are helping hundreds of firefighters battle a blaze that the Boulder County Sheriff's Office says was started by two careless campers from Alabama, USA Today and the AP report. Jimmy Suggs, 28, and Zackary Kuykendall, 26, of Vinemont were arrested Sunday and charged... More »

Odd New Tool in Study of Wildfires: Rattlesnakes

Researcher will track snakes near Washington burn site

(Newser) - Animals flee fire—but what happens when the flames are extinguished? That's exactly what Joey Chase of Central Washington University is trying to find out. Over the next year, he plans to track two male Northern Pacific rattlesnakes, each about 10 years old, found near the site of a... More »

Man Who Filmed Himself Starting Massive Wildfire Gets 20 Years

The video was a key piece of evidence in his conviction

(Newser) - A man who took a video of himself after starting a fire that would go on to burn more than 150 square miles of land was sentenced to 20 years in prison and a $60 million fine, the AP reports. According to Reuters , Wayne Huntsman pleaded guilty to three counts... More »

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