Illustration by Adobe Stock
12 Feb 2024

Fire & Rescue headlines February 2024


B.C. wildfires survived the winter underground - forest fire smoke now visible again

While forest fires are claiming many lives in Chile in the south of the Americas, Western Canadian wildfires that went dormant over the winter have once again moved above ground, producing visible smoke and smouldering, the B.C. Wildfire Service says.


123 dead and hundreds missing in Chile wildfires (Reuters)

Hundreds of people were still missing on Tuesday February 6, authorities said. This raised fears that  the death toll will keep increasing as more bodies are found on hillsides and in houses affected by the wildfires.

This is Chile's worst natural disaster in years is expected to climb further as residents, firefighters and military try to clear to clear the remains of residential areas of the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar where fast moving fires are reported to have destroyed buildings within minutes.


According to AP, The Chile fires appeared to have weakened by Monday morning after burning intensely since Friday on the eastern edge of the city of Viña del Mar. Two other towns in the Valparaíso region, Quilpé and Villa Alemana, are also particularly affected. President Gabriel Boric said Sunday that at least 3,000 homes had been burnt down in the area.

According to  Viña del Mar’s Mayor Macarena Ripamonti, at least 370 people have been reported missing in the city of about 300,000 residents.


Catalonia: State of emergency declared as region faces worst ever drought (BBC)

The Spanish region of Catalonia has declared a state of emergency as this week it faces its worst drought ever recorded. (reported February 6)

From Thursday residents not be allowed to wash their cars or fill empty swimming pools.  More than six million Catalans will be affected across 200 towns and cities, including the capital of Barcelona.


Eight Dead, 80 Injured in India Firework Factory Explosion 

(reported February 6)

NEW DELHI —  At least eight people died and 80 were injured on Tuesday February 6 in an explosion at a fireworks factory in India, officials said.

Images broadcast on Indian television showed tall flames after the explosion at the firecracker plant.  Dozens of ambulances and army helicopters were called in to evacuate the wounded.


General Motors fire likely caused by battery materials (Recycling Today)

The volatility of lithium-ion batteries can have damaging consequences:  A GM spokesperson told Detroit media that a fire at its “Factory Zero” electric vehicle production facility last week may have been caused by a forklift truck puncturing a container with battery materials.

The report on the website of the Detroit Free Press says the fire started in the shipping dock areas and filled a large part of the plant with heavy smoke. This led to an evacuation of the building.  (reported February 5)


‘The timing was just terrible’: Why the sprinkler system didn’t activate at RISE Doro apartments 

A fire that destroyed the RISE Doro apartments in Downtown Jacksonville occurred just days before the final inspection that would have allowed the building’s sprinkler system to be activated.

“The timing was just, it was terrible,” Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers said. “No fault of anyone’s. It’s a timeline thing, and the timeline just wasn’t there yet.”


Four firefighters were injured in a rollover while responding to a call

Four firefighters In Albany, USA, were injured when the fire engine they were in overturned while responding to a call. A security camera captured the rollover on South Harding Street on Feb. 2, WALB reported. Four firefighters were in the fire engine at the time of the crash.