The Camp Fire burning near Chico, California is now the single most destructive and tied for the deadliest fire in state history. And it’s just one of two major infernos that have been raging in the Golden State as late-season winds have picked up and spread walls of flames.
The Woolsey Fire in southern California has taken lives and property too, and could still spread further. Already more than 300,000 people have been forced to evacuate statewide.
The Camp Fire has so far torched more than 111,000 acres since igniting Thursday morning. At one point, it was growing at a rate of one football field per second. The fire has killed at least 29 people and incinerated more than 6,400 structures. More than 200 people are still missing. Paradise, home to 26,000, was almost entirely laid to waste by the fire.
“The town is devastated, everything is destroyed,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesperson Scott Maclean told Reuters. “There’s nothing much left standing.”
You can see the massive smoke clouds in this satellite photo (the red is infrared heat, not actual flames):
The fire has forced more than 50,000 people to evacuate, some on foot. Towering plumes of smoke, soot, and ash filled the skies and spread to communities hundreds of miles away like Santa Rosa, the site of last year’s Tubbs Fire, then the most destructive blaze in state history. As of Monday morning, the blaze is 25 percent contained.
The governor’s office declared a state of emergency for the region and requested federal aid.
Farther south, two other blazes ignited Thursday near Los Angeles and turned the sky orange. The Woolsey Fire has burned 85,500 acres so far with 15 percent containment. Two bodies were found in the path of that fire, though the cause of death is not yet official, the Washington Post reports. Firefighters are gaining ground against the Hill Fire, which has ignited 4,500 acres. The blaze is 65 percent contained.
Seasonal Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour have rapidly spread the flames. Both of these fires are in Ventura County, where the 282,000-acre Thomas Fire burned late last year. The Woolsey Fire is also in Los Angeles County.
This is actually the second round of big, dangerous fires in California this year. The Thomas Fire was only extinguished in January. Then the gargantuan Mendocino Complex Fire sparked and burned more than 459,000 acres in July. And in August, the deadly Carr Fire started in Shasta County.
You can see the current rash of fires in this map from Cal Fire:
If this seems like a pattern, it is. And it is poised to get worse in many parts of the state as average temperatures rise with climate change.
But remember that wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem. They provide a vital service to forests and grasslands, clearing out decaying brush and helping plants germinate. However, the massive wildfires we’ve seen in recent years are hardly natural; humans have made them worse at every step.
For one thing, people are building increasingly closer to grasslands and forests that regularly burn. This increases the likelihood of people igniting fires and the damage from the fires that do occur. Humans already ignite the vast majority of wildfires. Active fire suppression tactics have also prevented smaller fires from burning, allowing fuel to accumulate and drive surging conflagrations.
Human activity is also changing the climate. Warmer temperatures have caused forests in the western United States to dry out, killing off 129 million trees in California alone, leaving many regions littered in dry fuel.
As such, fire officials no longer talk about fire seasons but fire years. According to Cal Fire, California has seen almost double the area burned across its service territory than at the same time last year. More than 1.3 million acres have burned throughout the state this year and more than 8.3 million acres across the United States as a whole.
On Saturday morning, President Trump blamed “gross mismanagement of the forests” for the fires and threatened to withhold federal funding from California.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
The Pasadena Firefighters Association responded to the president on Sunday, stating the fires have “nothing to do with forest management”:
The National Weather Service reported that winds have slowed down in Northern California, which should give firefighters some relief and slow the spread of the Camp Fire. And in Southern California, winds are likely to continue blowing, so the fires could grow.
Some evacuation orders have been lifted, but red flag warnings remain in effect for many parts of the state.
11 Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders and Sculpt Beautiful Posture
Modern life takes its toll on our posture when we spend hours sitting and neglect the position of our spine. Poor posture leads to an imbalance in our muscles which means that they can’t support the body properly. Luckily, this can be fixed by doing a set of effective exercises. Moreover, they can help you to reduce back pain, stop headaches, increase energy, and improve circulation and digestion.
Bright Side is ready to help our readers achieve a beautiful and healthy body, and found 11 simple exercises that can be done at home by anyone. At the end we included a small tip, as a bonus for those who enjoy massage.
1. Upper trapezius stretch
It’s better to start from your shoulders first to relax your upper muscles. An upper trapezius stretch is just perfect for this.
Initial position: For this exercise, you can stand or sit on your yoga mat, whatever you like. Keep your head straight.
What to do:
- Slowly move your right ear toward your right shoulder. When you do this, it’s normal that your left shoulder might lift as well. If it does, bring your head back to the initial position and try to relax your left shoulder.
- Put your right hand over your head and place it on your left cheekbone. Don’t push your head down with it, it should just lie there. This will stretch your upper trapezius muscles very gently.
- Calmly breathe and sit in this position for 30 seconds.
- Slowly remove your hand, come back to the initial position and repeat the same on the other side.
The Superman exercise engages your upper and lower back. It helps you fight lower back pain and prevents a curved spine.
Initial position: Lie face down on your stomach, on your yoga mat.
What to do:
- Extend your arms and legs. Keep your neck neutral.
- Keep your torso stationary and lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. Try forming a “U” shape with your body.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, lower your arms and legs, and go back to the initial position.
- Repeat 10 times.
The bridge works out glutes and strengthens the lower back, which is important for good posture.
Initial position: Lie on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides.
What to do:
- Engage your buttocks and raise them up, creating a straight line with your body. Your shoulders should be on the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the initial position.
- Repeat 15-20 times. Give yourself a rest for 30 seconds after every 5 reps.
4. Reverse shoulder stretch
This is an effective exercise to stretch your back and shoulder muscles and remove tension and pain in them.
Initial position: Stand on a yoga mat, with your feet wider than your shoulders, place your straightened hands behind you, and lock your palms together.
What to do:
- Bring your shoulder blades together and start putting your arms up. Try to feel the tension in your spine and shoulder muscles.
- For more spine stretch bend forward and bring your locked hands up. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
- Slowly return back to the initial position.
- Repeat 20 times.
5. Foam roller exercise for upper back
A foam roller will help you to relieve pain in your back muscles, fix rounded shoulders, and improve your overall posture.
Initial position: Get a yoga mat and lie on it with your hips apart and your feet on the floor. Place your foam roller right under your upper middle back, in your shoulder blade area.
What to do:
- Bring your hands behind your head, this will support it. Bring your hips into a bridge pose, and hold your balance, supporting your body with your legs.
- Inhale, push your body from your heels, and roll on your spine. Stop when the roller reaches the top of your shoulder blades.
- Exhale and roll back until the roller reaches the bottom if your rib cage.
- Repeat this for 30-45 seconds.
6. Cat-cow exercise
The cat-cow exercise is perfect for stretching your back, lower spine, and core muscles.
Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, place your hands right under your shoulders, and knees and feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointing toward your body. Your spine should be natural and straight, no bending or arching.
What to do:
- Cat position: exhale and engage your abdominal muscles. Arch your spine up toward the ceiling, bringing your head to your chest, aligned with your spine. Hold this for 10 seconds.
- Cow position: slowly start bringing your stomach toward the floor and try to feel the tension in your lower back. Bring your shoulder blades together. Hold this for 10 seconds and go back to the initial position.
- Repeat 15 times.
7. Kneeling hip-flexor stretch
The kneeling hip flexor stretch will help to remove tension from your pelvic and lower back muscles.
Initial position: Kneel on a yoga mat, bring your right leg in front of you, and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Your foot is flat on the ground. Support yourself by standing on your left knee that is also bent at 90 degrees.
What to do:
- Slowly start bringing your right knee forward and brace your core. Engage your glutes and keep bringing your hips forward.
- Your left knee is already bent at more than 90 degrees. Keep your spine straight, don’t bend it forward or backward.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds to feel the stretch in the muscles then slowly return to the initial position.
- Repeat 10 times for both sides.
8. Bird dog exercise
Bird dog helps to remove back pain, strengthens the core, and promotes proper posture.
Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your spine should be straight and neutral.
What to do:
- Raise your right hand and your left leg at the same time, bringing them parallel to the floor.
- As you do this, lengthen your neck and bring your chin to your chest. Look down at the floor and remain like this for 10 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and then repeat the same exercise with your left hand and right leg.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
9. Forearm plank
Plank is not only effective at burning fat, but it also helps to strengthen the spine muscles, it prevents back pain, and it helps to improve your posture.
Initial position: Place your forearms on the yoga mat and align your elbows below your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance.
What to do:
- You can clasp your hands together for more comfort. Correct your neck and spine by looking at one spot on the floor somewhere about 30 centimeters in front of your hands.
- Pay attention, so that your head is in line with your back.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds.
10. T-Spine windmill stretch
The t-spine windmill stretch can help you fight pain and tension in your lower back and trunk. Moreover, it works out your shoulder muscles.
Initial position: Lie on your side on a yoga mat and bend your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Extend and stack your arms together on your right side.
What to do:
- Raise your left arm up and then place it out to the left, opening your body up. Right now, your shoulder blades should be on the floor and your legs should remain in the same position.
- Hold it for a couple of seconds and return to your initial position.
- Do 30 repetitions on each side.
11. Tight shoulder massage
A simple tennis ball can help you to remove pain in your shoulders in different areas and relax them. All you need here is a tennis ball and a wall.
Initial position: Stand next to the wall and face it. Place a tennis ball on the wall and lean on it. Your chest should push the ball inside your shoulder.
What to do:
- Start making a circular movement around this muscle and try to find a trigger point.
- Hold a ball on this point until you feel that the tension and pain are gone.
- Keep doing this until you relax all of your trigger points.
- Repeat on the other shoulder.
Bonus: Thai massage is amazing for your back and shoulders.
Thai massage is an ancient form of massage that uses stretching and gentle pressure on the body to relieve muscle and joint pain, and balance your body. This massage helps to make muscles more flexible and removes chronic stiffness. For better results in achieving a healthy back and good posture, you can try this type of massage, focusing on your spine muscles.
Exercises can be effective, but it’s also important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day and strive to keep your spine straight. Do you have good posture? Maybe, you have a couple of exercises that help you relieve back and shoulder pain? Let’s share in the comments!
Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova and Marat Nugumanov for BrightSide.me
8 Top Technology Trends To Watch In China
This is a preview of 2019 Technology Trends Report in China from Business Insider Intelligence and EqualOcean. Chinese high tech firms have been leading the way in innovation for many technologies, such as 5G. These technologies are either currently undergoing or about to undergo major phases of change.
View at DailyMotion
Why Iran is attacking oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that lies between Iran and Oman. Dozens of tankers carry oil through the 21-mile-wide passage each day. This flow of oil represents 20 percent of the world’s supply.
Most of the tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz are bound for Asia. But an attack on any tanker there, regardless of its destination, can affect the price of oil everywhere. That’s because oil is a globally traded product — a drop in supply from the Persian Gulf can drive up prices from other sources around the world. After two tankers were attacked in June, the price of Brent Crude — oil sourced from the North Sea — jumped by nearly $2 per barrel.
The attacks in June weren’t the only incidents in Hormuz in recent months. Several other oil tankers have been seized, attacked, and harassed. These tankers — and this narrow water passage — have become a center of conflict between the US and Iran. It’s a conflict with the potential to escalate in one of the world’s most important oil chokepoints, sending the global economy into a tailspin.
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