News

    International Experts Study Ways to Fight Wildfires

    Fire authorities from around the world have been meeting in Australia to learn from the devastating bush fires in the southern state of Victoria earlier this year.
     
    The affects of climate change have been a major point of discussion for international firefighting experts gathered in Sydney to look at ways to fight bushfires.

    Better technology could help
     
    Delegates from Asia, the United States and Europe attending two-day International Wildfire Management Conference see improved technology and research as weapons against wildfires around the world.
     
    Southeast Australia is one of the most fire-prone regions anywhere and international experts have been keen to learn from the catastrophic events in the state of Victoria earlier this year.
     
    A series of blazes, many sparked by lightning strikes or by suspected arsonists, killed more than 170 people.

    Walls of flames powered through communities, propelled by strong winds. The fires were fed by dry conditions caused by very hot temperatures and a long drought, which many blame on climate change.

    Stay or go?
     
    The disaster has focused attention on Australia's "stay-or-go" policy, where homeowners either fight the flames or leave their property.
     
    Some fire chiefs in California say that residents should always be encouraged to evacuate, but Naomi Brown, from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, says installing effective early warning systems is the key.
     
    "Evacuation also requires enough time for people to evacuate," Brown noted. "That's really the biggest issue. When there is really a big sudden fire, the time to evacuate is extremely limited and extremely dangerous. So if we can get better at giving people triggers of when to leave early, which we will work very hard on doing, then people evacuating themselves is the safest thing to do as long as it's early enough."

    Dry season is coming
     
    For parts of southern Australia, the annual fire season could be as little as two months away.
     
    Despite recent wet weather across much of the continent, climatologists warn that a looming El Nino pattern could bring drier conditions to Australia in the coming months.
     
    In Asia, wildfires also are a particular danger in Indonesia and Malaysia, especially in areas where farmers burn wild growth to create palm oil plantations. Already fires have begun in parts of Indonesia, where there are warnings that an extended dry season this year could trigger severe blazes.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora