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US: Oregon wildfire continues to destroy area ‘larger than New York City’

The massive fire raging in southern Oregon for the past 10 days is likely to continue due to unstable weather. A ‘fire cloud’ collapsed threatening firefighters with strong downdrafts and flying embers.

Efforts to contain a vast blaze scorching the western US state of Oregon have failed, as forecasters said Friday that dry, unstable, and windy conditions were likely to keep fueling the massive wildfire.

The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, near the border with California, was just one among dozens of major fires raging across the drought-stricken western United States.

However, it grew overnight to 377 square miles (976 square kilometers) — greater than the size of New York City. The wildfire remains only seven percent contained.

“The Bootleg Fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long — that’s an enormous amount of line to build and hold,” said firefighter commander Rob Allen.

“We are continuing to use every resource, from ‘dozers to air tankers to engage where it’s safe to do so especially with the hot, dry, windy conditions predicted to worsen into the weekend.”

‘Fire cloud’ collapses

The inferno, which is growing by 4 miles a day, has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and is threatening 5,000 buildings, including homes and smaller structures in a rural area just north of the California border, fire spokeswoman Holly Krake said.

The fire is so large that it generates its own weather. “Fire clouds” are formed from superheated air rising to a height of up to 10 kilometers above the blaze, which can spawn lightning and high winds.

A photo taken with a drone provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, a pyrocumulus cloud, also known as a fire cloud, is seen over the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Fire clouds are towering pyrocumulus clouds form from condensed moisture that is sucked up through the fire’s smoke column

One such fire cloud collapsed Friday, spreading embers and forcing the firefighters to flee the fire lines.

“We’re expecting those same exact conditions to continue and worsen into the weekend,” Krake said of the fire-induced clouds.

Impact on neighboring California

The fire also threatened the power supply in California where heatwaves in the past years have put a strain on the state’s grid.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state was sending reinforcements to Oregon even as the state battled its own fires, his office’s emergency service said.

Demand for personnel and equipment across the Pacific Northwest has strained available resources. More than 1,900 firefighters and a dozen helicopters as well as airplane tankers and bulldozers were assigned to the Bootleg.

Caused by climate change

About 70 major active wildfires were listed on Thursday which has burned more than 1 million acres in 12 states, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported.

The fire stands as the fifth largest on record in Oregon since 1900, according to state forestry figures.

Scientists have said the extremely dry conditions and heatwaves have been tied to climate change, making wildfires harder to fight.

Climate change has amplified droughts making the region warmer and dried in the past 30 years.

This has created the ideal condition for wildfires to spread out of control and inflict unprecedented damage, growing in both frequency and intensity.  

adi/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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Bay Area firefighters prepare for bike ride to New York City to honor 9/11 victims

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) — A group of Bay Area firefighters plans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks with a cross country bike ride ending in New York city.

Because some days in American history are so significant, people can remember exactly where they were, even decades later.

September 11, 2001 is one of those days for retired Santa Clara firefighter Darrell Sales.

“That morning I happen to come into work and we had a group of 17 brand new firefighters that were in the last week of their fire academy,” Sales said. “For the first two or three hours of our training, all of us watched as the events unfolded.”

RELATED: WATCH: Late night newscast after the 9/11 attacks in New York City

They watched nearly 3,000 Americans killed on that day, including 343 firefighters.

To honor the lost lives 20 years later, Sales and a team of retired and current firefighters are preparing to ride across the country on bikes.

40 days, 3,800 miles.

An honor ride from the Bay to Brooklyn.

“Trying to come up with a way to honor the 343 firefighters that gave their life on that day, we thought that this would be a good way to do that,” Sales said. “We’re looking at averaging 100 miles a day, going across the heart of the United States, connecting with fire departments each way and then coming into New York in time for the 9/11 events.”

RELATED: ‘It feels like it was yesterday’: Survivor of 9/11 terrorist attacks shares his harrowing escape from 105th floor of the World Trade Center

The group consists of ten firefighters and military vets ranging in age from 38 to 72.

Sales was part of the team that participated in the first event of its kind in 2011.

The team makes stops at other fire stations throughout the journey and passes by landmarks commemorating events from 9/11.

Sales says he never could’ve anticipated the feelings that came with finishing the journey ten years ago and he can’t wait to do it again.

RELATED: Miles by Molly: San Jose woman running cross country to raise awareness for Challenged Athletes Foundation

“People will ask you, ‘why do you do this? How do you get the energy to do something like this?’,” Sales said. “It really goes along with your thought process for the fire service. You just make that sacrifice, because that’s what you do because you want to give back to your community.”

The ride will begin on August 1 in Santa Clara.

The team is also raising money for the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation.

To donate to the cause, visit the Bay to Brooklyn Ride website here.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Millions of people face life-threatening storm surge and heavy winds and rains as Tropical Storm Elsa moves north off the coast toward Florida’s Big Bend area

Elsa is churning off the western coast of Florida with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph as it moves north on a collision course with the Big Bend region, where it is expected to make landfall late Wednesday morning or early in the afternoon.
A Tampa resident covers his windows with hurricane shutters in preparation for Hurricane Elsa Tuesday.
The storm was about 50 miles southwest of Cedar Key Wednesday morning.
Hurricane warnings were in place from the Chassahowitzka River, just to the south of Homosassa, Florida, to the Steinhatchee River.  The hurricane warnings south of the Chassahowitzka River to Egmont Key, Florida, have been replaced by tropical storm warnings.
Bands of heavy rain and strong winds continue to spread inland across southwest and west-central Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Florida until 8 a.m., according to a tweet from the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office.
While the system weakened to a tropical storm early Wednesday after becoming a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday, hurricane warnings remain in place for more than four million people in Florida. More than 12 million people are under a tropical storm warning across three states.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded his state of emergency declaration Tuesday to include a total of 33 counties as local, state and utility resources continue to prepare for the incoming storm.
The Florida National Guard has activated 60 guardsmen to serve at the State Emergency Operations Center and Logistics Readiness Center, according to a release from the Guard. It is prepared to activate additional personnel as needed.
“We are well-equipped with assets including high-wheeled vehicles, helicopters, boats and generators, and are preparing for possible missions to include humanitarian assistance, security operations, search and rescue, aviation, and more,” the guard said in the release.
In Tampa, officials urged residents to stay off the roads as the storm approaches.

Counties and utilities preparing ahead of storm

Both the mayor and emergency coordinator for the city of Tampa posted on social media Tuesday to encourage residents to stay home and be prepared.
“We are prepared here in the city of Tampa but we need you to do your part as well,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a video posted to Twitter. “Don’t go outside tonight. If you don’t have to, do not go outside. Stay in.”
“We want everybody to be safe in Tampa and we’ll be up all night monitoring the storm so you don’t have to,” she added.
Earlier, Tampa Emergency Coordinator John Antapasis said it was time for residents to get to safety ahead of the expected landfall.
“Now is the time to get back home, get off the streets and stay safe for the rest of tonight,” he said. “You should be making and finalizing your hurricane plans and ensuring that you’re in a safe location while … Elsa makes it’s way through out community.”
Antapasis advised that people who need to be on the road should check the city’s flood map.
Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes also warned people to get ready for the storm during a press conference Tuesday.
“Please finalize your plans and secure your homes and get ready to sort of bunker down and ride out this storm,” Hopes said.
Shelters were opened in at least five counties Tuesday and two counties issued voluntary evacuation orders.
Duke Energy, which serves 1.8 million customers in Florida, according to its website, is preparing for anticipated outages from the storm.
The utility said in a press release Tuesday that it has staged 3,000 utility “crew members, contractors, tree specialists and other personnel” from Pinellas County to north Florida.
Additional line workers and support personnel have also been brought in from the Carolinas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, according to the release.
The University of Florida in Gainesville has canceled classes for Wednesday in anticipation of the storm, the university said in a statement.

Tropical storm warnings and emergency declarations extended

Ahead of Elsa’s landfall in Florida, tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia.
The warnings extend along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the entire coast of North Carolina and up to Chincoteague, Virginia, and for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
On Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a State of Emergency in preparation for the impact of Elsa.
“This storm system has the potential to produce destructive impacts to citizens throughout the central, southern, and coastal regions of the State of Georgia and due to the possibility of downed trees, power lines, and debris, Georgia’s network of roads may be rendered impassable in the affected counties, isolating residences and persons from access to essential public services,” Kemp said.
A State of Emergency has been declared in 91 of Georgia’s 159 counties, according to Kemp’s order. The order will expire Wednesday at midnight unless the governor decides to renew it.

Author: Hollie Silverman, Michael Guy and Rebekah Riess, CNN
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Gareth Southgate picks out area England must improve on for possible France or Germany tie

Gareth Southgate believes his England side have shown “moments” throughout the group stage to prove they’re capable of winning the tournament, but knows they will need to improve in one specific area to progress. Raheem Sterling grabbed his second goal of the tournament to hand England all three points and book their spot in the Euro 2020 round of 16 with France, Germany or Portugal potentially up next.

It’s now three clean sheets in as many games for England when some thought Southgate’s defence would be a worry heading into the tournament.

But there has been some criticism at England having only managed to score two goals in the tournament so far.

Harry Kane hasn’t looked his best with the Tottenham striker struggling to get in goalscoring opportunities.

Southgate suggests that goals were never going to be easy to score against the Czech Republic.

JUST IN: England star Jack Grealish passes Man City transfer audition

However, he wants to see his side improve from set pieces for their round of 16 tie next week at Wembley.

“I think the Czechs are a really good side,” Southgate said.

“They use the ball very well, they’re difficult to break down. I think there’s more to come from us.

“We haven’t scored from a set-play yet which, I know people laughed about ‘it’s only scoring from set plays’ but they’re crucial in big matches so we’ve got to get those nailed.

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“But we’re not fluent but we are are having moments where we look a good side.”

Bukayo Saka came in for his first start for England in a major tournament at the age of just 19.

And Southgate was hugely impressed with the teenager’s performance.

“We’ve been super impressed with Bukayo throughout the whole month and he was excellent up at Middlesbrough,” he said.

“We’ve really liked him with and without the ball and, tonight, his receiving under pressure was fantastic.”

England set the tempo early on with both Jack Grealish and Saka impressing from the off.

Sterling had a great chance just minutes after kick off to score the opener after Tomas Vaclik came off his line with the Manchester City lobbing the ball over his head, only for it to rebound off the post.

But he didn’t have to wait too long for his second goal of the tournament after Saka drove with the ball from his own half.

The Arsenal star skipped past multiple challenges before breaking into the box with a dink towards the back post.

Grealish picked up the ball and dropped his shoulder to create enough space to dink the ball back towards where Saka delivered.

The teenager made a darting run to the centre of the goal though, giving Sterling the room to break off unmarked to the back post where he headed in from close range.

Czech Republic pushed for an equaliser and tested Jordan Pickford, who pulled off a fine save to keep his clean sheet.

England rode the small wave of pressure though before taking full control of the match.

Chances may have been few and far between for England, but Sterling’s goal proved enough to secure top spot and ensure they play against at Wembley in the next round.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

More contagious Delta COVID-19 variant labeled 'concern,' no cases confirmed in Austin area

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Delta variant of COVID-19 has yet to officially infect anyone in the Austin area, but federal authorities recently elevated it to a higher level of scrutiny due to concerns that it’s more infectious and could subvert available vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now label the Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India, as a “variant of concern.” The agency’s director, Rochelle Walensky, said she expects it to become the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. later this year. It’s already reached that status in Great Britain.

The O TSA listed on the left includes Travis County. The above information about the presence of variants throughout the state comes from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The CDC describes a variant of concern as one that has evidence of a higher risk of transmissibility, more severe disease or reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines — among other factors.

According to the most recent data shared by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the state only confirmed 25 COVID-19 infections caused by the Delta variant. None of those showed up, though, in the region that includes Travis, Hays and Williamson Counties. The most prevalent strain locally remains to be B.1.1.7, the Alpha variant that originated in the United Kingdom.

Even though it’s not yet widespread in Texas, Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House vaccinations coordinator, shared some troubling numbers related to the Delta variant nationwide.

“We have seen the cases here in the United States go up,” Dr. Choucair said. “If you look at late May, only 2.7% of the cases were Delta variant. Early June, less than two weeks later, it’s 9.3%, so [those are] significant increases.”

He said the best way people can protect themselves is through vaccination.

“What we know about the Delta variant is if you’re fully vaccinated and completed both doses of the vaccine, you’re fairly well protected,” Dr. Choucair said. “But the fact remains that if you’re unvaccinated, or if you’ve gotten just one dose and you skipped out on the second dose, you remain at risk irrespective of your age, irrespective of your medical conditions. We’d want to do everything we can to make sure those who started the vaccine with one dose get their second dose. Those who are not yet vaccinated start the process so that they can get vaccinated.”

National Month of Action

President Joe Biden named June as a National Month of Action to encourage more people to get the shots. He set a goal to get at least 70% of adults in the U.S. partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July. Some states already reached that milestone. But Texas is not there yet.

According to Texas DSHS, almost 57% of those 12 and older in the state have gotten vaccinated with at least one dose. The amount of Texans fully vaccinated stands at more than 47%.

Dr. Choucair said Texans who already got the shots should talk to people in their own lives about their experiences with vaccinations, which may spur them to seek out the shots.

“We know from research, from surveys, from focus groups that people trust people they know, and I have no doubt that people who are vaccinated in Austin, in Texas, anywhere across the country have tons of people who trust them,” he said, “so having that one-on-one conversation is so critical to making sure we’re getting more and more people vaccinated.”

Author: Will DuPree
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Aldi unveils plans to open more than 400 new UK stores – will there be one in your area?

Aldi is one of the UK’s most popular supermarkets, with 900 stores in the country. Now, the discount retailer has unveiled plans to open more than 400 other stores in the UK.

Aldi opened its first UK store in 1990, and since then it has competed alongside Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Lidl as part of the UK’s six biggest supermarkets.

Although Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s are the UK’s original Big Four supermarkets, discounters Aldi and Lidl are quickly catching up.

For its new stores, Aldi is looking for suitable sites in the middle of town centres or at the edge of centres.

It wants each site to be around 1.5 acres and able to accommodate a 20,00 sq ft store.

Mr Aldridge added: “That’s why, more so than ever, we’re keen to explore all opportunities to open new stores across the country.”

Some of the cities Aldi is looking at include Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff, and Edinburgh.

In other Aldi news, the supermarket is bringing back some of its most popular garden Specialbuys this summer.

From June 27, customers will be able to get their hands on the Rattan Effect Corner Sofa and Cover Bundle, and the Wooden Garden Trolley.

On July 4, the large hanging egg chair will be on sale for £249.99.

This is similar to the supermarket’s iconic hanging egg chair, but bigger.

List of possible new store locations

100 sites in the South East, including Brighton, Oxford and Reading

71 sites in the South West, including Bristol, Plymouth and Swindon

54 sites in the West Midlands, including Birmingham, Warwick and Worcester

61 sites in the East Midlands, including Leicester, Lincoln and Nottingham

38 sites in the East of England, including Cambridge, St Albans and Hemel Hampstead

50 sites in the North West, including Manchester, Liverpool and Warrington

11 sites in the North East, including Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland

35 sites in Yorkshire, including Middlesbrough, Harrogate and Halifax

20 sites in Scotland, including Edinburgh, Dumbarton and Shotts

30 sites in Wales, including Cardiff, Newport and Swansea

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Mosquito in Memorial Park area tests positive for West Nile Virus

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The first case of West Nile Virus for 2019 has been reported in Harris County.

Harris County Public Health says a mosquito found in the 77007 zip code has tested positive for the virus.

That zip code is in west Houston, along the Katy Freeway. It also includes part of near Memorial Park and the Rice Military neighborhood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says though most people do not develop any symptoms if they get West Nile, one in five do get a fever, aches and rash.

To prevent bites, the CDC recommends using mosquito spray with 20 percent DEET on body parts with thin skin like wrists and ankles, use fans or blow mosquitoes away to make it hard for them to fly, and avoid peak mosquito hours, which include sunrise and sunset times.

You’ll also want to avoid doing certain things such as buying wearable devices that have DEET since they don’t cover the entire body and relying on high-tech traps, since they’re only effective in a small area.

Find more tips here.

SEE ALSO: Why your blood type could make you a mosquito magnet

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Austin mass shooting: Teen arrested at Killeen area high school is 2nd suspect

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A second suspect has been arrested in connection with the mass shooting that killed one and injured 13 others in downtown Austin’s Sixth Street over the weekend.

Jeremiah Roshaun Leland James Tabb, 17, is charged with aggravated assault, according to a release from the Austin Police Department.

Tabb was arrested Monday without incident in Killeen while enrolled in a summer school class, police say. Killeen ISD police say the suspect was arrested at Harker Heights High School.

On Saturday afternoon, APD confirmed the arrest of another juvenile in connection with the deadly shooting.

Douglas John Kantor, 25, died from his injuries at an Austin hospital Sunday at 12:01 p.m. after the shooting, police say.

At an initial police briefing, APD Police Chief Joseph Chacon said 11 people were receiving treatment at one hospital, while one victim went to a separate hospital, another received treatment at an emergency room and another self-transported.

APD response

Chacon said his officers rushed six patients to the hospital in their patrol vehicles, while Austin-Travis County EMS paramedics ended up taking four. Three were transported in personal vehicles, police said.

Police explained officers took some victims in patrol cars because the size of the large crowd on Sixth Street and the chaotic scene made it difficult for EMS and the Austin Fire Department to get to the area. Chacon credited his officers, who were working in five shifts, for applying first aid and tourniquets to save some of the victims.

Witnesses at the scene of the gunfire

Witnesses around the 400 block of 6th Street early Saturday morning described the chaos as the gun shots rang out.

“Everything was totally fine,” witness Matt Perlstein said. “… there were just so many people in the street. And we just heard like, nine — a bunch — gunshots going off. Everyone got on the ground. We couldn’t even comprehend what was going on at the time. It’s still difficult to comprehend.”

David Frost was also on East 6th, out for a night of fun with his cousin. He said the chaos happened just as bars were closing up for the night.

“We’re all going outside,” said Frost. “Nobody knew anything was going on until the cops were like, ‘Hey get off the street… this is an active crime scene, go to your cars immediately and get out of the streets.’

This developing story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Author: Andrew Schnitker
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Delta variant mapped: 25 areas put on watchlist – is your area one? Latest data

Delta variant cases now account for up to 91 percent of all new coronavirus cases in the UK according to the Health Secretary.

Speaking to MPs on Thursday, June 10, Matt Hancock said this figure was ascertained from an assessment he saw “last night”.

The Delta variant was first detected in India and is believed to be around 40 to 60 percent more transmissible than the Kent mutation detected in winter last year.

The rise in cases since February has been attributed to this variant, with more than 7,000 cases reported on both June 9 and 10 this week for the first time in weeks.

PHE medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said: “Once again we are seeing cases rapidly rise across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant.

“The increase is primarily in younger age groups who are yet to receive the vaccine and we are seeing more hospital admissions.

“The vaccine rollout is a huge success, however, there are many millions who still need one or two doses and protection is not immediate.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Surge testing extended over Delta variant – is your area affected?

NHS Test and Trace has launched a fresh round of surge testing in parts of the UK due to the increasing numbers of Delta variant – which was first discovered in India. This surge testing is being deployed from Tuesday, June 8, following the identification of a small number of confirmed cases of the B.1.617.2 (Delta) coronavirus variant. 

All the confirmed cases have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts have been identified.

Anyone who does test positive and is identified to have a variant of concern will undergo enhanced contact tracing.

This is where contact tracers look back over an extended period to determine the route of transmission.

So which areas are affected?

Read More: Covid hotspots MAPPED: Three quarters of areas see rise in cases

Everyone aged 12 and over who lives or works in these areas is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

With PCR tests, positive results are sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories.

This then helps the NHS to identify COVID-19 cases with a variant of concern and then prevent their spread.

For anyone who has coronavirus symptoms, you should book a free test online or by phone. You can then go to a testing site or have a kit sent to your home.

If you have no symptoms, you should visit your local authority’s website for more information.

People in the named area should continue to make use of free twice-weekly rapid tests, commonly known as lateral flow devices, alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing. 

The Delta variant – which recently underwent a name change from the Indian variant – has been found to be 40 percent more transmissible than the Kent strain.

And with the latest round of lockdown restrictions due to lift, this has raised concerns for whether the June 21 date should be delayed. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the emergence of the Indian variant has made the “calculation” on whether to proceed with unlocking “more difficult”.

Scientists have also suggested that steadily rising numbers of people in hospitals should also delay the final stage of restriction easing.

Downing Street has said the data emerging over the coming week will be “crucial” in deciding whether the remaining restrictions can end.

If the Government opts to delay Step 4 of the road map, some indoor venues such as nightclubs would not be allowed to reopen as planned.

Limits on audiences in theatres and cinemas may also remain in place.

Brits may also be asked to work from home for longer, delaying the much-anticipated return to the office. 

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed