Bootleg Fire creating its own weather. Race to prevent millions of evictions before moratorium deadline. Massive floods hit central China.
Bootleg Fire creating its own weather
Meteorologists say that the Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon is now generating its own weather. The fire has already consumed over over 394,000, an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. More than 2000 homes have been evacuated and about 5000 more are in the fire’s path.
A few days ago, the Bootleg Fire joined up with the smaller Log Fire. Due the heat and sheer size of the blaze, the moisture it converts to vapor has created a large cloud resembling a giant thunderhead. Experts call this cloud a pyro-nimbus, or pyro-cumulonimbus.
This phenomenon has been observed before in the rampant Australian wildfires in early 2020. The pyro-nimbus is very bad news for firefighters, who currently only have the blaze at 32% containment. The cloud can generate high winds and lightning. In Australia, pyro-nimbus lightning strike sparked new fires in dry but previously unaffected areas.
Macrus Kauffman of the Oregon Department of Forestry says that, “Normally the weather predicts what the fire will do. In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do.”
Race to prevent wave of evictions before moratorium deadline
With just 10 days to go before the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium expires, officials are rushing to get money into the hands of renters facing eviction. The CDC has extended the moratorium several times, but it seems unlikely it will be extended against before July 31.
Between December and March, Congress approved more than $46 billion dollars in relief for renters who have fallen behind due to jobless and the economic downturn. But this money was given to the states, most of which did not have any system in place for vetting recipients and distributing funds.
Statehouses then passed this responsibility on to a patchwork of local agencies, non-profit groups, law firms, management consultants and municipalities. With only a few exceptions, the resulting lack of clarity and organization has created confusion and made it harder for renters to get the money they need. Mississippi has been no exception.
With fresh urgency, renters received $1.5 billion in June, more than the previous 5 months combined. Still the problem is nowhere near resolved. More than 11 million Americans (16% of renters) are still behind on their rent and facing eviction. The rise of the COVID Delta variant only compounds the problem, since anyone evicted will be putting themselves and others at greater risk of infection.
Today, the White House is hosting an eviction crisis summit with over 2000 participants from all over the US. These will include renter and landlord advocates, as well as mayors from two major US cities that have had more success in distributing funds.
China: Subway riders trapped, die in massive flood
Henan province, one of China’s most populous central provinces, has seen days of torrential rain. Local officials say the area received a year’s worth of rain in just three days. The enormous volume of water has burst river banks and dams and flooded streets and homes.
At least 25 people in the province’s capital of Zhengzhou are confirmed dead and several are missing. The death toll includes 12 subway passengers who died when a wall of water inundated the underground system. Many more passengers remain trapped and have uploaded images to social media showing chest-high water. The death toll is likely to rise over the coming days.
More than 1.2 million people in the area have been affected by the floods and resulting landslides. At least 200,000 have evacuated to local shelters.
Videos on social media show civilians pitching in with emergency workers, and working together to save people. One dramatic video shows bystanders rushing to rescue a woman who had been swept away by the flood.
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