‘Erratic’ winds, dry conditions fuel deadly California fires as 6 die

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Firefighters regroup while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta, California. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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A firefighter battles the Carr Fire as it burns near Shasta, California. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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A hand crew of firefighters from various San Diego County fire departments scratch out a fire line after a brushfire burned in De Luz, California. (Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
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A wildfire burns near the lake in Whiskeytown, California. (Hung T. Vu/The Record Searchlight via AP)
Updated 29 July 2018
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‘Erratic’ winds, dry conditions fuel deadly California fires as 6 die

  • Firefighters in Shasta County, in northern California, where the Carr Fire began on July 23, issued warnings on Twitter
  • According to the most recent available reports, the Carr Fire — only 5 percent contained — has scorched 89,194 acres

CALIFORNIA: Around 12,000 firefighters battled on Sunday to contain wildfires in California that have killed six — but authorities warned “erratic” winds and dry conditions have caused the flames to grow and spread.
“Very hot and dry conditions will continue over the West coast states through Sunday. Conditions around the Carr wildfire near Redding, California will continue to be conducive to rapid wildfire growth and spread,” the National Weather Service said Sunday morning.
Firefighters in Shasta County, in northern California, where the Carr Fire began on July 23, warned on Twitter that “erratic winds and hot, dry conditions on the #CarrFire resulted in greater growth and increased fire behavior last night.”
Two firefighters were killed fighting the blaze and three people — a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren aged five and four — perished when their mobile home was surrounded by flames.
According to the most recent available reports, the Carr Fire — only 5 percent contained — has scorched 89,194 acres (around 36,000 hectares), destroyed 517 buildings and damaged 135 more.
By the end of Saturday, 38,000 people had been evacuated in Shasta County. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the county, as well as in the counties of Lake, Napa and Mendocino Saturday evening.
He asked for federal assistance, including military aircraft, shelter supplies and water for evacuated residents in Shasta County, where he said the Carr Fire had grown “uncontrollably.”
US President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration to make federal aid available to county authorities.
Another northern California fire, the Mendocino Complex — made up of two fires — has also burned more than 24,000 acres in total since Friday. Having rapidly spread, it was only 10 percent contained Sunday morning.
Elsewhere, firefighters reported that the Ferguson fire, near Yosemite National Park, had grown only by around 1,980 acres overnight — bringing the total damage to 53,646 acres since July 13 — and was 30 percent contained. A firefighter died battling that blaze, with seven people also injured.
Meanwhile, the Cranston Fire forced the evacuation of over 7,000 people, although some were able to return to their homes Sunday morning. The fire — caused by humans — has destroyed 13,130 acres and is 29 percent contained.
According to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), 17 large-scale fires were burning Sunday morning, with 12,000 firefighters deployed across the state.


India, Pakistan foreign ministers to hold rare meeting

Updated 20 September 2018
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India, Pakistan foreign ministers to hold rare meeting

NEW DELHI: The foreign ministers of arch-rivals India and Pakistan will hold a rare meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly underway in New York, officials in New Delhi said Thursday.
The announcement comes after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi calling for a resumption of talks between the nuclear-armed foes.
High-level talks between India and Pakistan are rare. Indian media described the slated meeting as the first in nearly three years.
India has long accused Pakistan of arming rebel groups in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both.
India also blames Pakistan for financing the deadly 2008 militant attacks in Mumbai.
A spokesman for India’s external affairs ministry said the New York tete-a-tete between Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi did not represent a shift in New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad.
“This does not indicate any change in our policy on cross-border terrorism,” spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters in the Indian capital.
The announcement comes as the already-fraught relationship between the rivals hit fresh roadblocks this week.
The death of an Indian border guard Wednesday in Kashmir provoked outrage, with New Delhi accusing Pakistani forces of mutilating his corpse.
“It was a barbaric incident that defies logic and civilized behavior. We will take it up with Pakistan in an appropriate manner,” Kumar said.
Navjot Sidhu, an Indian cricketer-turned-politician, earlier came under fire after returning from Pakistan where he was filmed hugging the country’s army chief.