May 3, 2013

    Photo: Walt Morgan/Flickr

Wildfire Burns Toward Malibu

Threatens 4,000 homes

A 10,000-acre blaze that started Thursday morning threatens 4,000 homes as it moves toward Malibu, California. More than 800 residents were told to evacuate as officials closed an 11-mile-long stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway.

"It’s a rapidly moving fire through heavy vegetation and it’s proving to be difficult for firefighters,” Bill Nash of the Ventura County Fire Department told CBS Los Angeles. “There’s no place for (the fire) to go over the highway. We’re staging units at the PCH. We’ll try to be in front of it and stop it as it reaches the coastline.”

Fifteen residential homes have been damaged along with five commercial properties but no injuries have been reported. Nearly 1000 firefighters and other personnel are battling the blaze. It is currently 10 percent contained.

Strong Santa Ana winds fueled the fire overnight and are expected to pick up again throughout Friday. The fire was one of three that broke out among red flag conditions in Southern California Thursday.


    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Time Running Out For Oblivious Rabies Victim

Bit by a bat in the Mojave Desert

Time is running out for a man who may have been unknowingly infected with rabies in the Mojave Desert National Preserve. According to witnesses, a bat swooped from the sky like death itself and landed on the man’s neck outside a book store at Kelso Depot. The bat later tested positive for rabies, prompting officials to begin a search for the mystery bat attack victim before the disease turns fatal or he becomes a bat himself.

“If you know this man, it is very important that we speak with him,” said County Health Officer Maxell Ohikhuare. “Rabies is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms begin.” Initial signs of rabies include weakness, flu, fever, and headaches. Anxiety, confusion, and agitation may follow.

The San Bernardino County health department has already found rabies in two bats this year, and is warning residents to avoid any strange animals, or those exhibiting unusual behavior such as foaming at the mouth or paying with a check at the grocery store.



Norway Needs Garbage

Scandanavian country relies on trash to heat homes

Norway has a garbage problem. Specifically, it doesn't have enough. The Scandanavian nation, which relies on burning trash to provide heat to many of its buildings, is facing a refuse shortage, seemingly caused by Norwegian's near-religious recycling habits.

The trash shortage is hitting especially hard in Oslo, where operators have begun importing garbage from England and Ireland to keep their plants in operation; some are considering bringing in waste from further abroad.

"I'd like to take some from the United States," plant employee Pal Mikkelsen told the New York Times. "Sea transport is cheap."

Norway isn't the only country in northern Europe that's in need of garbage; Sweden is in a similar predicament. Complicating the situation, both countries currently export shiploads of trash to each other.


    Photo: rieke photos via Shutterstock

Kayaker Invented Missing Canoeists

False report prompted 3-day search

A three-day search for two missing canoeists on Wisconsin’s Chippewa River was called off when police discovered that the two men never existed. The man who told the false story was arrested on suspicion of obstructing an officer. 

Andrew Wallace, 30, told police that he had fallen into the Chippewa River while kayaking because he was trying to rescue two men clinging to their capsized canoe. He said the two men were swept downstream, prompting a massive search by land, sea, and air that turned up neither canoe nor canoeist.

City Manager Russell Van Gompel said that the fake report put responders’ well-being at risk as they searched choppy, frigid waters. Wallace was booked and released, but it’s still unclear why he made up the story in the first place. Sure makes the fall from his kayak a lot less heroic.