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7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Caribbean, sparked tsunami fears

Greeley Pulitzer

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7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Caribbean, sparked tsunami fears | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A map showing the epicentre of Tuesday's magnitude 7.7 earthquake
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An earthquake, followed by a series of strong aftershocks, struck yesterday in the Caribbean Sea, shaking the area from Florida to Mexico. The tremor had a magnitude of 7.7 but apparently caused no casualties or major damage.

The initial tremor struck at 2:10 pm Eastern Time and was centered 86 miles northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica and 87 miles west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba, according to the US Geological Survey. Its depth was relatively shallow at 6 miles beneath the surface.

The USGS initially put the quake’s magnitude at 7.3 but later upgraded it to 7.7. The aftershocks so far have topped out at a magnitude 6.1. The USGS Warning Centre says the threat of a tidal wave has passed.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but the quake caused very strong to severe shaking in portions of far western Jamaica, capable of moderate to heavy damage, the USGS said. Moderate shaking was felt on Grand Cayman Island, while light shaking was reported on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Bahamas, Haiti and Honduras were also affected.

The quake was felt in five states in Mexico and as far away as South Florida and even the Eastern part of Cuba.

A psychiatrist at a Cayman Islands hospital said she saw manhole covers blown off by the force of the quake and sewage exploding onto the street, but no more serious damage.

71 year old Claude Diedrick of Montego Bay said the shaking felt “like I was on a bridge. It was like there were two or three heavy trucks and the bridge was rocking, but there were no trucks.”

Tuesday’s quake is the fourth magnitude 7 or greater earthquake in the Caribbean since 2000, according to AccuWeather. It appears to have occurred on a fault line between the North American and Caribbean plates, according to USGS seismologist Lucy Jones.

The last month has been an extremely active period for earthquakes in the Caribbean. The southern part of Puerto Rico was hit by a sequence of quakes that began on December 28 with a magnitude 4.7 shaker and was followed on January 7 by a magnitude 6.4 aftershock, then a 5.2 on January 15, according to USA Today.

The USGS said the sequence has produced more than 300 quakes bigger than magnitude 3, the level which can be felt by humans.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Environment

National park staff scramble to prevent more wildfires as dry season approaches

Greeley Pulitzer

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National park staff scramble to prevent more wildfires as dry season approaches | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Staff at Phu Kradueng National Park take a nap after working for almost two straight days - The Nation

Phu Kradueng National Park officials told the press today that although they had contained the bushfire that started on Sunday and damaged over 3,400 rai of park forests, they still need to build additional firebreaks to prevent a reoccurrence, which is more likely during the dry season.

“Currently we have only one tractor truck to build the firebreaks. It has been working around the clock for two straight days and the engine is not in very good condition.”

Officials of the park in Loei province say they have an additional truck at the Wildfire Extinguishment Unit, but transporting it to the site of the fire would require a helicopter, which they don’t have.

“In a worst-case scenario, we may have to disassemble the truck and carry the parts by foot, which would take at least two days.”

National park staff scramble to prevent more wildfires as dry season approaches | News by The Thaiger

The Region 10 Environmental Office reports that the bushfire in Phu Kradueng damaged at least 3,400 rai of the national park’s pine forest and grassfields, including an iconic 100 year old pine tree. The fire was the third and worst bushfire in the past eight years.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Wildfire damages over 2000 rai in national park

Greeley Pulitzer

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Wildfire damages over 2000 rai in national park | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - The Nation

A wildfire yesterday morning in the Phu Kradueng National Park in the northeastern province of Loei damaged more than 2000 rai, mostly pineforest and grassland. Adisorn Hemthanont, chief of the park’s wildfire extinguishment unit, made the announcement today.

“A dozen staff tried to extinguish the fire but the strong winds blew fireballs across the fire barrier and [they] landed about 400 metres from Mesa Cliff. At around 11am, the bushfire spread quickly around Mesa Cliff, covering a large area.”

Adisorn says more than 130 staff from the extinguishment unit, park officials and volunteers used three tractors and four water trucks, working all afternoon and into the night to build a barrier to prevent the fire spreading. The blaze was reportedly brought under control at around dawn today.

Phu Kradueng National Park is in Si Than subdistrict, Loei province. It’s one of Thailand’s best known national parks, with a high point of 1,316 metres at Khok Moei and a total area of 348 square kilometres. It’s famous for beautiful sandstone cliffs, scenic viewpoints and a variety of tropical flora and fauna.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Fires continue devouring Thailand’s North

Greeley Pulitzer

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Fires continue devouring Thailand’s North | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wildfires continue ravaging Thailand's nortehern regions. A total of 3,238 fires were recorded nationwide - Bangkpk Post

Despite prohibitions on agricultural burning, wildfires continued ravaging forests across Thailand yesterday, especially in the North. Satellite images charting the progress of large fires yesterday morning showed the number of hotspots in the north had risen from 823 on Friday to 1,334. A total of 3,238 forest fires were recorded nationwide.

Mae Hong Son province had the highest number of large-scale blazes with 340, followed by Uthai Thani in the central region (209) and Tak (205), also in the north. The Pollution Control Department’s air monitoring stations showed the overall level of PM2.5 pollution in Mae Hong Son rose to 96 microgrammes per cubic metre, nearly double Thailand’s “safe” threshold of 50µg/m³. The threshold set by the World Health Organisation is 25µg/m³

Also hard-hit was Lampang province, where fires continued ravaging national park and wildlife sanctuary areas. Lampang’s provincial governor says that despite the fires, levels of PM2.5 have remained normal there, but he expects them to rise again in the coming week.

Fires continue devouring Thailand's North | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: – AirVisual

Officials of the Doi Pha Mueang Wildlife Sanctuary in Lampang say the fires wiped out 13 rai of forest in a single day, including seven rai of in conservation areas of Tham Pha Thai National Park.

Meanwhile, the director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said yesterday two helicopters were deployed to battle fires in inaccessible mountain areas in Lampang, Chiang Mai and Phrae provinces.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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