Friday, August 9, 2013

Live fires and dead dolphins: hot environmental news from Reuters

The story about the Department of Justice investigating JPMorgan Chase I recycled in Discovery News on the psychology of rich people plus a financial crime story wasn't the only story of interest from Reuters that I included in Overnight News Digest: Friday Morning Fill-in Edition on Daily Kos.  There were quite a few more, including two environmental stories.

Here's one that resonates with me.  It's also the one that fits this month's Hot theme.  On both counts, it's going first.

Southern California wildfire pushes east, forces evacuations
by Tim Gaynor
Thu Aug 8, 2013 3:03pm EDT
(Reuters) - A wind-whipped California wildfire that doubled in size overnight torched 15 buildings east of Los Angeles, injured at least five people and forced the evacuation of 500 homes in about half a dozen small communities, authorities said on Thursday.

The fire broke out on Wednesday near a back-country road in Riverside County, and by early Thursday had blackened more than 10,000 acres, the Riverside County Fire Department said on its website.

Four firefighters and one civilian have been hurt in the blaze, which is raging through tinder-dry brush and is just ten percent contained. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
Early August is still too early for brushfires like this.  When I moved from southern California* to Michigan, they didn't erupt in force until the end of August.  Now, there are major fires as early as May!  Of course, I blame climate change.

Next, the number one story from the site about the U.S. last night is an even more explicitly environmental one, U.S. declares 'unusual mortality event' as dolphin deaths rise By Francesca Trianni.
NEW YORK | Thu Aug 8, 2013 7:51pm EDT
(Reuters) - Federal scientists investigating an unusually high number of dead bottlenose dolphins washing up on the East Coast said on Thursday the carcasses are showing up at a rate that is seven times higher than usual.

More than 120 dead animals have been discovered since June from New Jersey to Virginia, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service said.

Federal scientists have declared it an "unusual mortality event" and are investigating the cause, said Maggie Mooney-Seus of NOAA Fisheries.
This is indeed sad news.  At the risk of being tasteless, I want to wish our prematurely departed dolphin friends so long and you're welcome for all the fish.

Speaking of dead marine animals, a dead shark was found in a New York subway car.  Coincidentally, it's Shark Week.  The Discovery Channel disclaims any connection between the two.

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