What happens when powerlines fall on a chainlink fence

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Protip: when powerlines fall on your chainlink fence, remove yourself from proximity to the chainlink fence. Read the rest

Tar sands production in Canada pretty much shut down by Fort McMurray wildfire

Flames rise in area south of Fort McMurray, Alberta May 3, 2016.  [Reuters]

Almost all of Canada's tar sands production has been shut down by a raging wildfire in Alberta's Fort McMurray region.

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Owners watch their home burn via indoor security camera connected to iPhone


This home was burned to the ground in the Fort McMurray wildfire. The owners watched their living room go up in smoke via a security camera feed sent to their iPhone. Read the rest

Incredible timelapse of Dubai skyscraper in flames


On New Year's Eve, a 63-story hotel in Dubai caught on fire. There were no fatalities. Kirill Neiezhmako's time lapse video of the inferno is like something from a big budget Hollywood movie. Read the rest

Japanese live streamer accidentally starts his apartment on fire


This guy was showing off his cigarette lighters and matches when he accidentally started a small fire. While he was putting it out, he started an even bigger fire, which wasn't so easy to put out. Read the rest

Reminder: don't set fire to spiders while you pump gas


A foolish motorist was lucky to escape unharmed after trying to kill a spider in Center Line, Michigan, with fire. At a gas pump. While pumping gas.

After spotting the terrifying creature and perhaps remembering the Internet's advice on how such things are best disposed of, he whipped out a lighter and promptly set ablaze everything in front of him. He put out the fire himself with a nearby extinguisher, but not before the pump was destroyed.

Fox News Detroit reports that he later came back to say he was sorry.

This charred fuel pump says it all. We are told his car was barely damaged from the flames. But his embarrassing mistake didn't stop the man from coming back the next day as a customer.

"He was sorry," Susan said. "He was sorry, he said he didn't know. It is just one of those things that happen - stupidity."

Adams said this serves as a reminder about being careful around gas pumps. Whether it is using a cell phone or static electricity, the smallest spark can cause a gas station fire.

It is not noted in reports whether the spider escaped immolation. Read the rest

Ghost hunters burn down mansion

The LeBeau Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish, La., was long considered haunted. Now it's considered toast, having allegedly been burned to the ground by stoned ghost hunters. Local Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said that the fire broke out at about 2 a.m. Friday, reports Fox News, with the mansion "fully engulfed in flames" by the time firefighters arrived. [via Fortean Times] Read the rest

The science of deadly fires

Investigators are still trying to understand what happened to the 19 firefighters who were killed last weekend in Arizona, while battling a wildfire. Climatewire's Nathanael Massey explains how a dangerous-but-dealable blaze can quickly become something much more deadly. Read the rest

How Smokey Bear creates forest fires

By now, many of you are probably aware that human behavior is one of the key factors behind some of the massive forest fires we've seen in recent years. The basic story goes like this: Under a natural cycle, periodic small fires sweep through forests, burning through small trees and dry brush. But if you prevent those fires from happening—as humans have done for around a century at this point—all that highly flammable stuff builds up. In the end, you're left with a giant tinderbox of a forest. The next time a fire does happen there, it's almost guaranteed to be much, much bigger and more destructive than the natural fires that forest is adapted to.

NPR has a very nice story about the science and history behind this problem, which forest fire experts call "The Smokey Bear Effect", after the cartoon Ursus the U.S. Forest Service has long used as part of its fire prevention campaign.

Its ill-advised fire prevention campaign.

And it was the experts who approved the all-out ban on fires in the Southwest. They got it wrong. That's the view of fire historian Stephen Pyne.

"The irony here is that the argument for setting these areas aside as national forests and parks was, to a large extent, to protect them from fire," Pyne says. "Instead, over time they became the major habitat for free-burning fire."

So instead of a few dozen trees per acre, the Southwestern mountains of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah are now choked with trees of all sizes, and grass and shrubs.

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10 tons of toilet paper wiped out by fire

A tractor-trailer hauling 10 tons of toilet paper blocked an Ohio highway last week when the payload caught fire. Hundreds of rolls of blazing tissue spilled onto the highway, according to the Toledo Blade, with much of the rest ruined by firefighters. Read the rest