wildfire

Wildfire safety blackouts in California by PG&E could leave homes without power till Friday

A return of bone-dry humidity and gusty winds Wednesday in Northern Calfornia during the peak of wildfire season is expected to result in power outages for tens of thousands of customers that could last until Friday.

The nation’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), warned it may begin power shutoffs by Wednesday evening to as many as 54,000 customers in 24 counties.

“We really view it as a last resort option,” Mark Quinlan, the company’s incident commander, said at a briefing on Tuesday.

POWER OUTAGES IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MAY IMPACT 50,000 PG&E CUSTOMERS IN SAFETY SHUTOFFS

Wind gusts possibly hitting 55 mph have spurred the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a red-flag warning from 5 a.m. Wednesday through Friday morning.

While PG&E said it will make a final decision sometime on Wednesday morning whether to implement the pre-emptive electricity cuts, it advised that it began its one-day advance notifications to customers.

Customers in portions of the following counties are being notified of potential shutoffs: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.

The Public Safety Power Shutoff is an effort by the utility to prevent fires from being started by damaged power lines fouled or knocked down in high winds. The utility also has deployed generators and other measures to keep electricity flowing in some areas that might otherwise have lost power during the outages, according to Quinlan.

If the forecast unfolds as planned, there will be two main waves of when customers lose electricity.

CALIFORNIA UTILITY USING ‘SMARTER, SHORTER’ TACTIC FOR BLACKOUTS TO PREVENT WILDFIRES

About 33,000 homes and

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California wildfire destroys over 550 homes as fire crews increase containment, ‘turned the corner’

A wildfire burning in Northern California’s famed wine country has now destroyed over 550 homes, but officials said Monday they were hopeful as containment of the blaze increased overall.

Cal Fire said as of Tuesday morning the Glass Fire that’s burning in Napa and Sonoma counties has scorched some 66,840 acres and is now 50% contained.

“We have turned the corner on the fire as a whole,” Cal Fire division chief Ben Nicholls said during a briefing in Sonoma County.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE SURPASSES 1 MILLION ACRES AS AUGUST COMPLEX DUBBED ‘MEGAFIRE’

Over 2,700 fire personnel are involved in the battle against the blaze, with some 408 fire engines deployed in the fight against the two-county blaze, according to the agency.

“We are the priority for the state here,” Nicholls said Monday.

In this Sept. 28, 2020, file photo, houses leveled by the Glass Fire are viewed on a street in the Skyhawk neighborhood of Santa Rosa, Calif.

In this Sept. 28, 2020, file photo, houses leveled by the Glass Fire are viewed on a street in the Skyhawk neighborhood of Santa Rosa, Calif.
(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

The blaze has destroyed some 553 homes, with 297 in Sonoma County and 256 in Napa County that have been lost so far. The wildfire is still threatening over 21,000 structures, according to fire officials.

A firefighter runs past flames while battling the Glass Fire in a Calistoga, Calif., vineyard Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.

A firefighter runs past flames while battling the Glass Fire in a Calistoga, Calif., vineyard Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The wildfire has also damaged or destroyed at least 18 wineries, with many locations reporting major damage.

“We have a little half an acre here that got pretty scorched,” Lisa Drinkward of Behrens Family Winery told KTVU.

A chimney stands at a Fairwinds Estate Winery building, which burned in the Glass Fire, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Calistoga, Calif.

A chimney stands at a Fairwinds Estate Winery building, which burned in the Glass Fire, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Calistoga, Calif.
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Nearly 3,000 people remain under mandatory evacuation orders in Sonoma County, while 13,000 are under warnings and may need

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Urban wildfire: When homes are the fuel for a runaway blaze, how do you rebuild a safer community?

TALENT, Oregon — Late morning on Sept. 8, forest scientist Dominick DellaSala sat at the desk in his home office to do a final edit on a newspaper opinion piece. The topic: The need to better prepare for catastrophic wildfires — or “black swan events” — that can rampage through neighborhoods.

His computer screen went dark. The power had gone out.

He went outside to investigate the outage. Looking south, he spotted a dense cloud of smoke.

“This was totally black. It was huge. And it was heading in our direction,” DellaSala recalls.

DellaSala spent the next few hours up on his roof, cleaning out gutters and hosing down the asphalt shingles before evacuating. His home was spared as the fire veered away from his street, but more than 2,800 structures and three people were killed in one of the most destructive wildfires in Northwest history.

Forest scientist Dominick DellaSala surveys the field near  a dog park that was the ignition point for the Almeda Fire, one of the most destructive in Oregon’s history. (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)
Forest scientist Dominick DellaSala surveys the field near a dog park that was the ignition point for the Almeda Fire, one of the most destructive in Oregon’s history. (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)

This one had nothing to do the management of thickly forested Northwest mountain slopes. It started in a patch of grass by a dog park in the north end of Ashland on a hot day with fierce, dry winds. The fire raced through a county greenway park, chewed through roadside brush and jumped into the heart of two communities — Talent and Phoenix, with a combined population of more than 10,000. Then houses, trailers and commercial buildings became the fuel that fed its relentless advance.

In the immediate aftermath of the historic early September fires, people here and in other ravaged Pacific Northwest towns such as Malden, in Eastern Washington, are primarily focused on the need to find short-term shelter

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Nearly 2 Million Homes at Elevated Risk of Wildfire Damage According to CoreLogic

As the Glass Fire burns and threatens Napa Valley, CoreLogic’s 2020 Wildfire Risk Report analyzes both single-family and multifamily homes currently at risk of wildfire damage in the most wildfire-prone states

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released its 2020 Wildfire Risk Report as smoky skies and poor air quality continue to burden cities up and down the West Coast. The report finds 1,975,116 homes1 in the United States with an associated reconstruction cost of more than $638 billion at elevated risk of wildfire damage. These homes are comprised of approximately 6.5% of the total number of single-family residences in these states.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200930005217/en/

Top 10 Metro Areas by Single-Family Residences at Risk (Graphic: Business Wire)

The Los Angeles metro area tops the list of metropolitan areas with the greatest single-family residences at wildfire risk, followed shortly thereafter by the Riverside and San Diego metro areas. California is home to 76% of these residences on the top 10 list—but the reconstruction cost value of these homes comprise nearly 84% of the list.

“2017 and 2018 were incredibly destructive, record setting years for wildfire, followed by a comparatively quieter 2019. When we talk about wildfire trends, it’s important to treat any decrease in fire activity as only temporary,” says Dr. Tom Jeffery, principal hazard scientist at CoreLogic. “Like most natural hazards, there is no reason to believe that the amount of wildfire acreage, or the number of homes in the path of future wildfires will be any less – and certainly the ongoing 2020 season is proof of that, well on its way to being among the most devastating in recent memory.”

The devastation in Oregon, Washington and California has

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3 Killed in Northern California Wildfire; Thousands Flee | Montana News

By JANIE HAR, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Northern California’s wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to evacuated. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.

In Sonoma County, residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.

The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourth-largest in state history.

“Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin evacuated her property in the Oakmont community of Santa Rosa at about 1 a.m. She is rebuilding a home damaged in the 2017 fires.

Gorin said she saw three neighboring houses in flames as she fled early Monday.

“We’re experienced with that,” she said of the fires. “Once you lose a house and represent thousands of folks who’ve lost homes, you become pretty fatalistic that this is a new way of life and, depressingly, a normal way of

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