‘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.


Pakistan reimposes ban on charities linked to militant leader

Updated 20 min 13 sec ago
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Pakistan reimposes ban on charities linked to militant leader

  • The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India
  • The two banned charities are linked to founder of another prominent extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has re-instated a ban on two charities linked to the founder of a militant group that has carried out attacks in India, the interior ministry said on Friday.
The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, following a suicide bomb attack on Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir.
The attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed, was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
The two banned charities are linked to founder of another prominent extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Pakistan’s National Security Committee, made up of top military and civilian officials, decided late on Thursday to ban the charities liked to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who has long been on a UN international terrorism blacklist.
The United States and India have blamed the LeT for numerous deadly militant attacks, including a four-day siege by gunmen in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.
The United States has offered $10 million for information leading to Saeed’s his arrest and conviction.
“It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organizations,” Pakistan’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Saeed, who denies being the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks and says he has no links to militant violence, has maintained that the two charities — the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) — are vital for helping the poor and have militant ties.
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said the two groups would turn to the courts to overturn the latest ban.
Saeed has been placed under house arrest several times over the past decade but he has always been released after a few months and has mostly been living freely in Pakistan, to the anger of both India and the United States.
Pakistan has long banned the LeT but for many years allowed its charity wings to operate an extensive network including 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services.
The United States has repeatedly complained about Pakistan’s failure to shut down the charities it deems “terrorist fronts” for LeT.
Pakistan last year banned the two charities but the order was temporary and it lapsed.
India has ratcheted up pressure on Pakistan since the Feb. 14 attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
India accused Pakistan of having a hand in the attack. Pakistan denies that.
Pakistan has also been placed on an international watchlist for failing to curb terrorist financing.