Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Battling 18 blazes, California may face worst fire season
對抗十八處熊熊烈焰 加州爆發史上最惡野火季

A Buddha statue sits on a rock at a burned home near Clearlake Oaks, northern California, US, on Aug. 7.
一尊佛像立於北加州靠近清澈湖橡樹社區一處焚毀民宅的石塊上,照片攝於八月七日

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

The largest wildfire ever recorded in California needed just 11 days to blacken an area nearly the size of Los Angeles — and it’s only one of many enormous blazes that could make this the worst fire season in state history.

Some 14,000 firefighters from as far away as Florida and even New Zealand are struggling to curb 18 fires in the midst of a sweltering summer that has seen wind-whipped flames carve their way through national forest land and rural areas, threaten urban areas and incinerate neighborhoods. Some of the largest fires have erupted just within the past few weeks as the state has seen record-setting temperatures — and the historically worst months of wildfire season are still to come.

In Northern California, the record-setting Mendocino Complex Fire — twin fires being fought as a single conflagration — gained ground Tuesday but more slowly because its own smoke covered the area and lowered the temperature, according to the California Department of Forestry.

The flames, which had burned 1,184 square kilometers, were raging in mostly remote areas and no deaths or serious injuries were reported but 75 homes were destroyed. The blaze, which broke out July 27, initially spread fast because of what officials said was a perfect combination of weather, rugged topography and abundant brush and timber turned to tinder by years of drought.

California is seeing 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.

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

“We’re in uncharted territory,” Gov. Jerry Brown warned last week. “Since civilization 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.

(AP)

加州記錄到最大規模的野火僅花十一天,就把幾乎等同於洛杉磯市的面積燒成一片闃黑──而這還只是眾多熊熊烈焰的其中一處。這些野火很可能讓今年成為加州歷史上最慘烈的野火季。

約有一萬四千名遠自佛羅里達州,甚至從紐西蘭趕來赴援的消防員,在炙熱難耐的酷暑中奮力遏止十八處的野火蔓延。這個夏天,風勢助長火舌,一步步吞噬國家森林土地與鄉村,對市區構成威脅,焚毀周邊鄰近地區。過去幾個星期以來,隨著加州氣溫不斷刷新紀錄,當地已發生數起最大規模的火災──而數月以來堪稱史上最慘烈的野火季很可能才剛開始。

根據加州森林局指出,在北加州破紀錄的「門多西諾複合大火」──兩處野火被視為單一件巨大火災加以撲滅──於週二進一步擴展範圍,但因為大火煙霧覆蓋該地區導致溫度下降,使得擴展速度變得更緩慢。

這場大火延燒面積已達一千一百八十四平方公里,主要於偏遠地區肆虐,目前並未傳出傷亡,但已摧毀七十五棟民宅。火焰於七月二十七日突然竄起,最初蔓延速度相當快,有關當局表示原因來自於天氣、崎嶇不平的地形、以及大量矮樹叢與林木經過多年乾旱形成易燃物等因素的完美結合。

由於乾旱、氣候變遷導致的較溫暖天氣,以及愈趨森林深處建造的民宅,加州正在經歷更早開始、時間更久、而且更具毀滅性的野火季。

在逐漸發展成為加州歷史規模最大野火的過程中,門多西諾複合大火打破僅僅在八個月前創下的一項紀錄。去年十二月在南加州發生的一場野火奪走兩條人命,燒毀一千一百四十平方公里,摧毀超過一千棟建築物。

「我們目前正處於前人未曾探索過的疆域中,」加州州長傑瑞‧布朗上週發布警告。「自從一萬年前人類文明在此萌芽後,我們從未經歷過這種高溫狀態,而情況還會持續惡化。事情就是這麼糟糕。」

(台北時報章厚明譯)

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