Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 09:45 External News

A heatwave already punishing parts of the U.S. Southwest on Monday was expected to move into California this week, prompting the forecasters to warn of health and fire dangers.

A high-pressure ridge that built over southwestern deserts over the past few days is responsible for the unusually blistering heat this early in the year, National Weather Service meteorologist Karleisa Rogacheski said.

“Today last day of seasonable weather in California,” Rogacheski said.

California saw balmy weather on Monday, with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s Fahrenheit (30-35°C), but forecasts called for warming on Tuesday, spiking into the triple digits by Thursday and lasting several days.

Monday, June 7, 2021 - 11:00 External News

A moderate earthquake struck near the Salton Sea in Southern California on Saturday but there were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed.

The magnitude 5.3 earthquake was reported at 10:55 a.m. and centered about 6.8 miles west of Calipatria, the USGS said. It was the biggest among a cluster of earthquakes reported in the area since 1 a.m.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 07:15 External News

Californians headed to campgrounds, beaches and restaurants over the long holiday weekend as the state prepared to shed some of its coronavirus rules.

Southern California beaches were busy with families barbecuing and children playing in the sand and surf. Business owners said they were scrambling to hire workers to keep up with the stream of customers eager to get out since virus cases have fallen and vaccinations have risen.

“It feels very, very close to normal,” Bob Alfera, a resident of seaside Santa Monica, told KCBS-TV.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 12:30 External News

As California sinks deeper into drought it already has had more than 900 additional wildfires than at this point in 2020, which was a record-breaking year that saw more than 4% of the state’s land scorched by flames.

The danger prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to propose spending a record $2 billion on wildfire mitigation. That’s double what he had proposed in January.

“Clearly we recognize we need to step up our efforts here in the state of California and that’s what we began to do early this year,” he said Monday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 12:30 External News

Things look bad with California’s ever-sooner wildfire season seemingly approaching and what’s shaping up to be a severe drought across the Western U.S.

The plague of wildfires in the past few years in California have made things tough for residents and businesses, and in the last few years, larger and more frequent wildfires have been particularly bad for utilities.

One business segment that’s getting some bad breaks are contractors that work for utilities or that work in wildfire-prone areas.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 06:15 External News

The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year.

In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system. The agency announced last month that hundreds of irrigators would get dramatically less water than usual, but a worsening drought picture means water will be completely shut off instead.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 08:15 External News

California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week expanded a drought emergency to a large swath of the nation’s most populous state while seeking more than $6 billion in multiyear water spending as one of the warmest, driest springs on record threatens another severe wildfire season across the American West.

The Democratic governor said he is acting amid “acute water supply shortages” in northern and central parts of California as he called again for voluntary conservation. Yet the state is in relatively better shape than it was when the last five-year drought ended in 2017, he said, as good habits have led to a 16% reduction in water usage.

Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 10:15 External News

A federal judge is weighing whether Pacific Gas & Electric violated its criminal probation by sparking a wildfire north of San Francisco that destroyed more than 100 homes and injured six firefighters in October 2019.

Prosecutors and attorneys for PG&E appeared at a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, a month after the Sonoma County district attorney charged the company with five felony and 28 misdemeanor counts for a fire that destroyed 374 buildings and launched the largest evacuation in the county’s history, with nearly 100,000 people forced to flee.

Friday, April 16, 2021 - 06:00 External News

California officials on Thursday voted to toughen oversight of Pacific Gas & Electric, saying the utility had largely failed to perform required tree-trimming work near power lines in areas with the highest risk of wildfires.

The unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission comes as the fire-prone state has stepped up scrutiny of utility efforts to mitigate wildfire risk. Climate change is fueling increasingly frequent and intense blazes in the state that are often ignited by power infrastructure.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 09:45 External News

California will authorize $536 million for wildfire mitigation and forest management projects before the worst of the fire season strikes later this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders said.

That more than doubles $200 million in recent annual spending, advocates said, and wildfire preparedness grants were dropped entirely last year when the state prematurely anticipated a pandemic-driven budget shortfall.

Armed now with an unexpected multi-billion-dollar surplus, lawmakers plan to add the money to this fiscal year’s budget before considering even more in the new spending plan that takes effect July 1.

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