UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: January 12, 301 AP.

Smoke billows over Shecker due to fires

The Utanian manufacturing and port city of Shecker, on the south-east cost, is covered by a blanket of smoke from forest fires to the west of the city.

The fires, covering thousands of hectares, started on Wednesday as the temperatures soared past 35 degrees (~90*F) on the ninth day without rain. Winds today started coming from the west, rare for the region, and blew the great plume of smoke into the city. With a high pressure system directly over the city, the winds have stopped, and the smoke has stayed.

Meteorologists are expecting winds to build today, blowing the smoke south or south-west, possibly affecting the city of Mulgrave before dissipating. (For a map of Utania, see the Utanian web site and go to the geography topic on the left-hald menu.)

The effect on the city is to add a heavy brown layer of smoke to the citys already prevalent pollution. Hospitals have already received hundreds of patients with respiratory complaints.

The fires in woodlands to the west have been under control since yesterday morning, and heavy rains are expected on Saturday.

<Tech>
We've actually got this right now in Melbourne: though the fires are actually over 100km away from us (and some overseas, no less!), southerly winds blew the smoke into the city, and lack of winds since have kept it here. Not too thick, but brown and not nice to smell, one can expect a rash of asthma attacks today and tomorrow. This is my example of art imitating life. Tomorrow: Life imitating art. ;-)
</Tech>


©UPA, 301 AP.

<TECH>
©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)