Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 09:15 External News

More than 13,500 firefighters were working Monday to contain a dozen large California wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of people to flee to safety.

After an extensive review of fire damage, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a presidential major disaster declaration for eight counties, Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, told a briefing near Sacramento.

If approved, the declaration would provide a wide range of assistance including housing, food aid, unemployment and governmental emergency costs, Ghilarducci said.

Friday, August 20, 2021 - 07:00 External News

Smoke from California’s wildfires choked people on the East Coast. Flames wiped out a Gold Rush-era town. The acreage burned would dwarf the state of Rhode Island.

Images of homes engulfed in flames and mountains glowing like lava would make it easy to conclude the Golden State is a charred black landscape.

That’s hardly the case, but the frightening reality is that the worst may be yet to come.

Thursday, August 19, 2021 - 07:15 External News

As temperatures recently reached triple digits, farmer Joe Del Bosque inspected the almonds in his parched orchard in California’s agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley, where a deepening drought threatens one of the state’s most profitable crops.

Del Bosque doesn’t have enough water to properly irrigate his almond orchards, so he’s practicing “deficit irrigation” – providing less water than the trees need. He left a third of his farmland unplanted to save water for the nuts. And he may pull out 100 of his 600 acres of almond trees after the late summer harvest – years earlier than planned.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 10:15 External News

Thousands of homes in Northern California remain threatened by the nation’s largest wildfire as unstable weather creates a high danger of new blazes erupting across the West.

Weekend thunderstorms across the northern Sierra didn’t produce much rain, instead whipping up winds and unleashing lightning strikes that that bedeviled the more than 6,000 firefighters trying to contain the month-old Dixie Fire amid temperatures forecast to top 100 degrees (38 Celsius).

Monday, August 9, 2021 - 09:00 External News

Thick smoke that held down winds and temperatures began to clear Sunday from the scenic forestlands of Northern California as firefighters battling the largest single wildfire in state history braced for a return of fire-friendly weather.

The winds weren’t expected to reach the ferocious speeds that helped the Dixie Fire explode in size last week. But they were nonetheless concerning for firefighters working in unprecedented conditions to protect thousands of threatened homes.

Monday, August 9, 2021 - 10:45 External News

When Tom Larsen thinks of the Dixie Fire in Northern California, he thinks about better modeling.

Larsen, the senior director for content strategy for catastrophe modeler CoreLogic Inc., pointed to some grim facts about the ongoing Dixie blaze: It’s already the second largest wildfire in recorded state history, and over the past two years five of the state’s top seven largest fires have occurred – things he blames on forestry management, climate change, more homes being built in the wildland-urban interface and of course the massive drought plaguing the Western U.S.

“What we’re seeing now in the last few years is loss history’s insufficient,” Larsen said. “The history that we’ve seen is insufficient to look forward and understand the risk.”

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 11:30 External News

California workers’ compensation written premium for the first quarter of 2021 was 13% below that for the first quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly experience report issued on Wednesday by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

The WCIRB report is an update on California statewide insurer experience valued as of March 31.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 - 08:45 External News

California will require millions of health care workers and state employees to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or get tested weekly, announcing a broad measure this week to try to slow rising coronavirus infections in the nation’s most populous state, mostly among the unvaccinated.

The new rule, to take effect next month, is the latest example of California and politically progressive cities nationwide cracking down on a virus that has upended life since March 2020. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced a similar plan Monday that requires 340,000 city employees, including teachers and police officers, to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 10:00 External News

It could be days before officials will be able to assess the damage done to a small town by California’s largest wildfire, one of dozens of blazes scorching lands across the U.S. West.

Over the weekend, the massive Dixie Fire roared through the remote Northern California community of Indian Falls. The blaze had already leveled at least 16 houses and other structures, but a new damage estimate wasn’t immediately available because flames were still raging in the mountain area on Monday.

“Fire behavior has been so unpredictable, it hasn’t been safe for inspectors to go in to work,” said Mitch Matlow, a fire spokesman. “Until things settle down, we won’t know the extent of what’s burned.”

Friday, July 23, 2021 - 07:45 External News

A lightning strike likely ignited a 2020 wildfire in California’s Sierra National Forest, but the U.S. Forest Service said Friday it could not determine an official cause of the fire.

September’s Creek Fire burned 600 square miles and spread so quickly that hundreds of Labor Day holiday campers had to be rescued by a series of harrowing helicopter flights. All 214 campers were delivered safely.

Investigators did not rule out arson and lit cigarettes as the cause, but said there were no illegal marijuana grow sites nearby that could have started the fire. Forest service officials said an “undetermined” status is not uncommon with a fire this complex.

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