wildfires

COUNTY RESIDENTS ASKED TO TAKE PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFF SURVEY

By Miriam Raftery

July 3, 2021 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services is asking all County residents to fill out a survey about the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program.  The SDG&E program to shut off power during high fire-risk conditions has sparked controversy across the backcountry among residents left without electricity to power their homes, businesses, wells pumps, and other vital needs. The deadline to complete the survey is July 13.

The survey asks residents whether they received adequate notification of such outages and whether they experienced financial losses, among other details – the first step toward documenting impacts of the program and potentially leading to changes.

CDFW INITIATES MASSIVE WILDFIRE PROTECTION EFFORT AT WILDLIFE AREAS, ECOLOGICAL RESERVES STATEWIDE

Source:  California Department of Fish and Wildife

CDFW photo:  heavy equipment is deployed to create fire breaks on CDFW wildlife areas in Merced County.

July 1, 2021 (San Diego) - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has undertaken the largest wildfire protection and resiliency effort in its history, working to safeguard nearly all of its wildlife areas, ecological reserves and the surrounding communities from wildfire ahead of peak wildfire season this summer and fall.

FLYING DRONES NEAR WILDFIRES IS ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS

 

Source: Cal Fire and San Diego Sheriff

June 18, 2021 (San Diego) -- As we enter our summer fire season, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) are reminding the public, it is against the law to fly a drone near or over a wildfire. Firefighting aircraft could be grounded, disrupting critical fire operations. Time is of the essence. 

Click on the video to watch.

THE AIR SAFETY CRISIS FROM CORONAVIRUS AND TOXIC WILDFIRES PARTICLES

HEPA filters and high-fit/high filtration masks provide dual benefits

By Devabhaktuni Srikrishna

May 26, 2021 (San Diego) -- In 2020, wildfires accounted for as much as half the fine particulate air pollution (PM 2.5) on the west coast and fire season is expected to be even more severe in 2021. While all smoke inhalation is bad, wildfire smoke is particularly dangerous due to the combination of chemicals it contains, including toxic gases and particulate matter from trees, homes, vehicles and industrial facilities. Recent research suggests risks from wildfire-specific PM 2.5 on respiratory health may be much worse than from other sources.

BATTERED, BURNED BUT ALIVE; TIME WILL HEAL PARK'S WOUNDS, BUT IT NEEDS BIG MONEY TOO

By Julie Cart, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  A view of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek on April 22, 2021. Most of the park burned in 2020's CZU Complex wildfire. Photo by Max Whittaker, courtesy of Save the Redwoods League

May 9, 2021 (Boulder Creek, Calif.) - In the annals of California history, no one has ever had to put a broken state park back together. There’s no guidebook, no rules. So now state officials and conservationists are attempting a complex and extraordinary Humpty Dumpty project: The reawakening of Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ANNOUNCE EARLY BUDGET ACTION FOR WILDFIRE PREVENTION

Source: Governor’s Office
 
April 8, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) today announced a $536 million funding plan to help improve California’s resilience to wildfires. They released the following statement:

KEEP YOUR FAMILY, PETS SAFE WHEN USING GENERATORS DURING POWER OUTAGES

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Photo: Creative Commons by NC-ND via Bing

November 20, 2020 (Sacramento) – As California continues to recover from wildfires, FEMA urges everyone who experiences a power outage to be safe when using portable generators.

CALIFORNIA PROTECTS HOMEOWNERS FROM HAVING FIRE INSURANCE DROPPED - AGAIN

The areas given protection include these zip codes near the destructive Valley Fire in San Diego’s East County:  91901,  91905, 91906, 91914, 91915, 91916, 91917, 91935, 91962, 91963, 91978, 91980,  92021, 92019, 92021, 92040, and  92154.

By James Bikales, CALmatters

CalMatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  A firefighter hoses down a burning home to help stop the spread of the fire to nearby homes in the Skyhawk community as the Shady Fire burns in Santa Rosa, on Sept. 28, 2020. Photo by Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

November 12, 2020 (Sacramento) - As this year’s historic wildfire season winds down, Californians living in fire-prone territory got temporary relief from another threat: they can’t lose their homeowners’ insurance policies for another year.

TWO FAST-MOVING WILDFIRES FORCE 160,000 TO EVACUATE IN ORANGE COUNTY

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  An Orange County Fire Authority truck races by a burning hillside. Courtesy OCFA

October 26, 2020 (Orange County) - Wind-driven wildfires triggered evacuations of more than 160,000 people in Orange County and severely injured two firefighters Monday, as thousands of residents endured a second day of precautionary power shutoffs.

COUNTY DEBUTS LIFE-SAVING KNOX BOX PROGRAM

 

By Jose Eli Villanueva, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 24, 2020 (San Diego) - County emergency responders have a new tool to help keep homeowners in unincorporated areas safe during a wildfire or medical emergency. It’s called a Knox Box and when it comes to being prepared for disaster… this may be just the key.

Contact us to see if you qualify.

Call:  858-974-5744 

Email:  FireCRR@sdcounty.ca.gov 

Visit:  sandiegocounty.gov/sdcfa 

RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL DISASTER AID AFTER FIRES

Source: FEMA

Photo:  Valley Fire, by Ron Kasper Dronesystems

October 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- The FEMA Individuals and Housing Program is available to all eligible renters and homeowners in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou and Sonoma counties, which are covered in the Oct. 16, 2020, federal disaster declaration. Federal monetary awards may help pay for temporary housing and other needs not covered by insurance. The initial rental award is for two months and may be reviewed for further assistance. 

STATE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER HOLDS INVESTIGATORY HEARING OCT. 19 ON INSURANCE COST AND AVAILABILITY AFTER WILDFIRES

Source: California Dept. of Insurance

 

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

October 16, 2020 (Los Angeles) -- With devastating fires continuing to burn across California, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is convening an investigatory hearing to initiate a series of regulatory actions that will protect residents from the increasing risk of wildfires. Commissioner Lara is taking action to stabilize the insurance market while protecting lives and homes, reducing catastrophic wildfire losses and increasing transparency for consumers. 

READER'S EDITORIAL: ACTION NEEDED TO CUT CARBON USE, ADDRESS WILDFIRES FUELED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

By Susan Tamura, San Diego
 
September 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- With California wildfires in the forefront, it is readily apparent that climate scientists' predictions of drier conditions in the West are coming to pass.  Wildfires and their smoke are not new to us; it's their ever-increasing magnitude that will test our resilience.

SDG&E HOLDS DRIVE-THROUGH WILDFIRE SAFETY FAIRS

By Miriam Raftery

July 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With fire season around the corner, SDG&E has announced a series of drive-through Wildfire Safety Fairs.  You can get a free emergency preparedness backpack and/or bucket, plus learn how to protect your family and property at upcoming drive-through wildfire safety fairs hosted by SDG&E.  The backpack includes a solar hand-crank radio, solar cell phone charger, 150 watt power inverter for plugging items into your car to charge, flashlight, 2.5 gallon water bag, first aid kit, toilet paper, face mask, insulated lunch box with reusable ice packs, glow stick and more.  

AHEAD OF PEAK FIRE SEASON, GOVERNOR NEWSOM ANNOUNCES MORE FIREFIGHTING SUPPORT AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In early season fires, major changes to emergency operations and sheltering have been made to protect firefighters and evacuees

Source: Governor’s Office

July 13, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom visited McClellan Air Force Base on July 9 to highlight the state’s wildfire mitigation capabilities and discuss new efforts to protect emergency personnel and evacuees from COVID-19 during wildfires. 

SIRENS, TEXTS, EVEN CHURCH BELLS: CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE ALERTS AND EVACUATIONS STILL AD HOC

By Julie Cart, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Residents evacuating from the Holy Fire near Lake Elsinore in 2018. Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG

November 21, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - When a fast-moving wildfire marched toward the town of Paradise more than a year ago, few who lived there were aware of it. Even though the community used the CodeRED automated emergency warning system, less than 40% of residents subscribed to the alerts.

TRUMP THREATENS TO END FEDERAL AID TO CALIFORNIA TO FIGHT WILDFIRES—AFTER OFFERING RUSSIA HELP TO STOP WILDFIRES IN SIBERIA

Critics accuse President of putting partisan politics above saving lives and aiding disaster victims

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 9 p.m. with comments from Alpine Fire Chief Paskle

 

Photo screenshot off NBC video:  Easy Fire started near the Ronald Reagan Valley in Simi Valley and threatened homes in Ventura County

 

November 4, 2019 (San Diego) – Days after California Governor Gavin Newsom praised the federal government for its rapid response to catastrophic wildfires and power outages affecting millions of our state’s residents, President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to cut off all future federal funding to California.  

REPORTER OFFERS TIPS FOR WHAT TO DO DURING OUTAGES AND WILDFIRES

By Leslie Wolf Branscomb
 
October 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) - I hate to have to post this again, but here is my advice to all living in areas that might have fires in this next week. Based on personal experience (having been evacuated) and years covering fires for the Union-Tribune. 

TRIBAL MEMBERS LAUNCH FIRE RELIEF DRIVE TO AID SURVIVORS OF FIRES IN MEXICO

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2019 (San Diego) – The Kumeyaay (Kumiai) tribal nation spans both sides of the border.  “Baja California Kumiai communities impacted by fires are in need,” writes Grace Sesma, who along Martha Rodriguez has established a Kumiai fire relief donation drive.  Donors can give money or donate items at several drop-off points on Native American reservations in San Diego’s East County.

CALIFORNIA'S WORSENING WILDFIRES, EXPLAINED

By Julie Cart and Judy Lin, Calmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo by Naveen Nkadalaveni, Wikimedia Commons

October 27, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - Introduction:  if it seems that wildfires are burning nearly all the time these days, that there’s no longer a definable fire season in California, you’re right. Fourteen of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007, and California has 78 more annual “fire days” now than it had 50 years ago.

READER’S EDITORIAL: TROUBLING QUESTIONS OVER FIRES IN LAKESIDE

By Barry A. Treahy, Lakeside resident and retired firefighter 

 

October 27, 2019 (Lakeside) -- My neighbors in El Monte Valley, Blossom Valley, Lakeside and Barona:

 

Emergency medical and fire protection has been in the news in California this year as it also was in the past.  

SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO START LOCAL FIRE SAFE COUNCILS TO PROTECT THEIR COMMUNITIES FROM THE EVER-PRESENT RISK OF WILDFIRE

East County News Service

October 16, 2019 (San Diego) -- Because fire season is now a year-round threat in San Diego, enlisting the support of community volunteers is critical to ensure the safety of the County. The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County is encouraging communities to create local fire safe councils to increase their neighborhood’s chances of surviving a wildfire. San Diego County currently has 41 community fire safe councils – the most of any county in the state – and they want to see that number grow.  

100,000 EVACUATED AS SADDLERIDGE FIRE IN L.A. COUNTY BURNS DOZENS OF HOMES

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

Photo: L.A. County Fire Ops
 
October 11, 2019 (Los Angeles) – The #SaddleridgeFirein Los Angeles has scorched 7,500 acres and forced an estimated 100,000 residents to flee 23,000 homes in the Granada Hills, Porter Ranch and Sylmar areas in Los Angeles County.  The fire has burned at least 25 homes and is 13% contained.  One resident died of a heart attack in the fire and a firefighter suffered an eye injury, the Los Angeles Times reports.

CAL FIRE INCREASES STAFFING FOR EXTREME FIRE DANGER CONDITIONS

Source:  CAL FIRE

October 8, 2019 (Sacramento) - CAL FIRE firefighters are staffing up and preparing for the forecasted extreme fire weather across California. The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings and fire weather watches for areas of northern, central and southern California. This will likely be the strongest offshore wind event so far this season.

VEHICLE FIRE SPARKS BRUSH BLAZE NEAR GREEN VALLEY FALLS CAMPGROUND

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 6, 2019 (Rancho Cuyamaca State Park) – A motorcycle crash off State Route 79 near Green Valley Campground charred approximately six acres of brush today.  Around 70 firefighters from multiple agencies battled the #GreenFire by land and air, extinguishing it several hours after it began.

SDG&E FORMS WILDFIRE SAFETY COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL TO STRENGTHEN WILDFIRE PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS IN THE REGION

Source: SDG&E

 

Photo: SDG&E air crane and helicopters help fight fires

 

October 1, 2019 (San Diego) – As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthen wildfire preparedness and prevention in the region, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has formed the SDG&E Wildfire Safety Community Advisory Council, a group of diverse local leaders from public safety, tribal government, business, nonprofit, and academic organizations who will provide feedback and recommendations on how SDG&E can continue to protect the region from wildfires.

CAL FIRE ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING FOR PROJECTS THAT PROACTIVELY ADDRESS FIRE PREVENTION AND FOREST HEALTH

Souce:  CAL FIRE

September 26, 2019 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the availability of over $80 million for Forest Health and Fire Prevention projects. CAL FIRE is soliciting applications for projects that work to proactively prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forests to healthy, functioning ecosystems while also sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

WHAT WILDFIRES DID TO ONE CALIFORNIA TOWN'S SCHOOLS IN FOUR YEARS

By Ricardo Cano | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

September 18, 2019 (Middletown, Calif.) - Catherine Stone pulled into a packed parking lot at Middletown High School on the hot and excessively windy Saturday of September 12, 2015. A small but fast-growing fire had erupted hours earlier, a dozen miles away on Cobb Mountain. First responders needed an evacuation center and wanted to use Middletown High.

JACOB ASKS INSURANCE COMMISSIONER TO STOP INSURERS FROM DENYING COVERAGE TO LOCAL HOMEOWNERS DUE TO WILDFIRE RISKS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: West Fire in Alpine, 2018

July 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Across California, some insurance companies have stopped writing policies for homes in areas at high risk for wildfires, even dropping policies for some long-standing customers, Voice of San Diego reported in mid-June. 

Now, Supervisor Dianne Jacob has written a letter on June 27 to California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara urging him to take immediate action to “address the heavy-handed, blanket approach that insurance companies are currently utilizing to deny insurance though those who live in areas where wildfires may occur.” She also called on Lara to hold a public hearing in San Diego County on the issue, to allow residents to speak out and share concerns.

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