epa06934171 A helicopter fills a container with water as it battles the Ranch Fire near Clearlake Oaks, California, USA, 07 August 2018. The Mendocino Complex Fire consists of two fires, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire, which have now combined. The fires have burnt over 280,000 acres of land.  EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO
Rescue crews have battled hard against the fires with limited resources (EPA)

Biggest blaze in California history challenges firefighters



Firefighters struggled against rugged terrain, high winds and an August heatwave on Tuesday to slow the spread of the biggest wildfire recorded in California — an inferno that grew to be nearly the size of Los Angeles in just 11 days.

The 1,165 square-kilometre blaze, centred near the community of Upper Lake about 160km north of San Francisco, spread fast because of what officials said was a perfect combination of weather, topography and abundant vegetation turned into highly flammable fuel by years of drought.

Firefighting efforts were also initially hampered by stretched resources, said the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

When the blaze started on July 27, thousands of firefighters were hundreds of kilometres north battling a massive fire that spread into the city of Redding, destroying more than 1,000 homes, in addition to a dozen other major blazes.

A few days after the Upper Lake fire started, Cal Fire Battalion Chief John Messina told a community meeting that with so many fires already raging in California, "resources are already committed" so officials were forced to prioritise public safety and private property.

"After those two things are addressed, then we'll go after the pieces of fire that are in remote areas," Mr Messina said. "Typically, we'd go at all at once. There is just not the resources for that."

The flames were raging in mostly remote areas, and no death or serious injury was reported. However, at least 75 homes have been lost and thousands of people have been forced to flee. The blaze, called the Mendocino Complex, was reported to be only about 20 per cent contained on Tuesday.

Its rapid growth at the same time firefighters were battling more than a dozen other major blazes around the state fanned fears that 2018 could become the worst wildfire season in California history.

"For whatever reason, fires are burning much more intensely, much more quickly than they were before," said Mark A Hartwig, president of the California Fire Chiefs Association.

About 3,900 firefighters, including a crew of 40 volunteers from New Zealand, were battling the blaze, contending with temperatures in the high 90s and winds gusting to 40kph.

The heavily forested area of myriad canyons where the fire is spreading has few roads or natural barriers that can serve as firebreaks or offer safe havens for firefighters to battle the flames head on, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said.

So firefighters instead fell back to natural barriers such as streams or used bulldozers to cut fire lines, but the flames were moving so fast in spots that they blew past, forcing firefighters to retreat, Mr Cox said.

"There's no way you're going to stop that fire," said Kyle Coleman, 28, who returned to his childhood home last week to help his father try — in vain, it turned out — to protect it. "A big wall of flames came over the mountain … I pretty much got my dad out of there."

In all, 14,000 firefighters were battling fires across California, which has been experiencing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and the building of homes deeper into the forests.

"Cal Fire is really an urban firefighter service in the woods," said Arizona State University professor Stephen Pyne, a wildfire management expert.

The Mendocino Complex is actually two blazes burning so close together that authorities are attacking them as one, a common practice at Cal Fire. The fires started within an hour of each other about 25 kilometres apart. As of Tuesday, they were separated by just a few miles. Officials have not determined the cause of either one.

In becoming the biggest fire in California history, the Mendocino Complex blaze broke a record set just eight months ago. A fire in Southern California in December killed two people, burnt 1,140 square kilometres and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.

_______________

Read more:

_______________

Crews also gained ground this week against another Northern California wildfire near the city of Redding that was blamed for at least six deaths.

Meanwhile, a blaze burning near Yosemite National Park has been raging for nearly a month but is still just a third the size of the biggest fire, although dense smoke has closed much of the park to visitors for the past two weeks.

California's firefighting costs have more than tripled from $242 million in the 2013 fiscal year to $773m in the 2018 fiscal year that ended June 30, according to Cal Fire.

"We're in uncharted territory," Governor Jerry Brown warned last week. "Since civilisation emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven't had this kind of heat condition, and it's going to continue getting worse. That's the way it is."

Adele: The Stories Behind The Songs
Caroline Sullivan
Carlton Books

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
The specs: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 450

Price, base / as tested Dh525,000 / Dh559,000

Engine: 3.0L V6 biturbo

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Power: 369hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 500Nm at 1,800rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 8.0L / 100km

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

LEADERBOARD

-19 T Fleetwood (Eng); -18 R McIlroy (NI), T Lawrence (SA); -16 J Smith; -15 F Molinari (Ita); -14 Z Lombard (SA), S Crocker (US)

Selected: -11 A Meronk (Pol); -10 E Ferguson (Sco); -8 R Fox (NZ) -7 L Donald (Eng); -5 T McKibbin (NI), N Hoejgaard (Den)

Which products are to be taxed?

To be taxed:

Flavoured water, long-life fruit juice concentrates, pre-packaged sweetened coffee drinks fall under the ‘sweetened drink’ category

Not taxed

Freshly squeezed fruit juices, ground coffee beans, tea leaves and pre-prepared flavoured milkshakes do not come under the ‘sweetened drink’ band.

Products excluded from the ‘sweetened drink’ category would contain at least 75 per cent milk in a ready-to-drink form or as a milk substitute, baby formula, follow-up formula or baby food, beverages consumed for medicinal use and special dietary needs determined as per GCC Standardisation Organisation rules

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Jawab Iteiqal
Director: Mohamed Sammy
Starring: Mohamed Ramadan, Ayad Nasaar, Mohamed Adel and Sabry Fawaz
2 stars

CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Low turnout

Two months before the first round on April 10, the appetite of voters for the election is low.

Mathieu Gallard, account manager with Ipsos, which conducted the most recent poll, said current forecasts suggested only two-thirds were "very likely" to vote in the first round, compared with a 78 per cent turnout in the 2017 presidential elections.

"It depends on how interesting the campaign is on their main concerns," he told The National. "Just now, it's hard to say who, between Macron and the candidates of the right, would be most affected by a low turnout."

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

Copa del Rey

Barcelona v Real Madrid
Semi-final, first leg
Wednesday (midnight UAE)

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

The specs

Engine: 5.0-litre V8

Power: 480hp at 7,250rpm

Torque: 566Nm at 4,600rpm

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Fuel consumption: L/100km

Price: Dh306,495

On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Company Profile

Name: JustClean

Based: Kuwait with offices in other GCC countries

Launch year: 2016

Number of employees: 130

Sector: online laundry service

Funding: $12.9m from Kuwait-based Faith Capital Holding

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Founders: Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar and Claudia Pacurar

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2014

Number of employees: 36

Sector: Logistics

Raised: $2.5 million

Investors: DP World, Prime Venture Partners and family offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Race card

6.30pm: Emirates Holidays Maiden (TB), Dh82,500 (Dirt), 1,900m
7.05pm: Arabian Adventures Maiden (TB), Dh82,500 (D), 1,200m
7.40pm: Emirates Skywards Handicap (TB), Dh82,500 (D), 1,200m
8.15pm: Emirates Airline Conditions (TB), Dh120,000 (D), 1,400m
8.50pm: Emirates Sky Cargo (TB), Dh92,500 (D)1,400m
9.15pm: Emirates.com (TB), Dh95,000 (D), 2,000m

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

Messi at the Copa America

2007 – lost 3-0 to Brazil in the final

2011 – lost to Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-finals

2015 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

2016 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final


View from DC

The inside scoop from The National’s Washington bureau

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      View from DC