Helicopter pilot killed fighting California wildfire
By Steven Lam VACAVILLE, Calif. (Reuters) - A helicopter pilot died on Wednesday when his aircraft crashed while fighting one of hundreds of wildfires raging in California after lightning storms
By Steven Lam
VACAVILLE, Calif. (Reuters) - A helicopter pilot died on Wednesday when his aircraft crashed while fighting one of hundreds of wildfires raging in California after lightning storms.
California was hit by nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in 72 hours, sparking 367 fires, with over 50 structures destroyed in Northern California's wine country where thousands fled their homes, authorities said.
In central California, a helicopter was on a water dropping mission in Fresno County about 160 miles (258 km) south of San Francisco when the aircraft crashed, killing the pilot who was the only person aboard, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.[L1N2FL2B9]
To the north of San Francisco, a group of fires covering over 46,000 acres (18,615 hectares) near the city of Vacaville raced through hills and mountains, destroying 50 homes and other structures.
The city of 100,000, about 30 miles southwest of Sacramento, was under a partial evacuation order after flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fire burned west side homes, leaving dead livestock among the properties or wandering around, a Reuters photographer said.
To the south, police gave communities west of Fairfield, a city of 117,000, about 30 minutes notice of mandatory evacuations, the Daily Republic newspaper reported.
"We are experiencing fires the like of which we haven't seen in many, many years," California Governor Gavin Newsom told a press conference, adding that he had requested 375 fire engines from out of state.
Fanned by "red-flag" high winds, fires sparked by dry-lightning from rainless thunderstorms are sending flames racing through vegetation parched by a record-breaking heat wave and low humidity.
The blazes follow devastating fires across Northern California in 2017 that killed 44, wiped out numerous wineries and destroyed nearly 9,000 homes and other structures.
A group of fires called the SCU Lightning Complex, centered about 20 miles east of Palo Alto, more than doubled in size overnight and is now burning over 85,000 acres. The CZU August Lightning Complex, meanwhile, has grown to over 10,000 acres and forced evacuations around 13 miles south of Palo Alto.
To the west, drought stricken Colorado faced its second-largest wildfire in history on Wednesday. The Pine Gulch blaze has produced its own weather system with thunder and lightning as it burned across 125,100 acres. It covers an area larger than the city of Denver, in remote mountain terrain about 20 miles north of Grand Junction, authorities said.
(Reporting by Steven Lam, additional reporting by Jane Ross and Sharon Bernstein and Andrew Hay; Editing by Tom Brown and Stephen Coates)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.