Friday, May 3, 2019 - 10:15 External News

Most of the country can expect a normal wildfire season but residents along the West Coast of the United States should be ready for another busy season, the National Interagency Fire Center said this week.

California experienced its deadliest and largest wildfires in the past two years, including a fire in the northern part of the state last year that destroyed the town of Paradise, killing more than 80 people. It was the nation’s worst death toll from a wildfire in a century.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 07:45 External News

From polar vortexes to tornadoes to wildfires and hurricanes, the United States has recently seen its fair share of natural disasters. In fact, according to Chubb, the average claim cost for a flood — the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States — increased by over 550% in the last five years, jumping from $50,000 to $290,000 per claim.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 12:15 External News

(TNS) — A new report by the Marin County Civil Grand Jury recommends the creation of a joint powers authority to coordinate wildfire preparedness and a quarter-cent sales tax to help fund preparedness efforts.

“Considering Marin’s current state of preparedness, citizens should not assume that first responders will be able to save them from the horrors of a wildfire like those experienced during Butte County’s Camp Fire,” the report states, referring to the fire in November that killed an estimated 85 people, destroying the town of Paradise and ravaging communities around it.

Monday, April 29, 2019 - 09:30 External News

Los Angeles County sued Southern California Edison and parent company Edison International on Thursday to recover more than $100 million in costs and damages from a wind-driven wildfire that may have been sparked by one of the utility’s wires.

“This legal action is an important and essential step toward accountability and recovery,” county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said.

Monday, April 29, 2019 - 09:15 External News

California is just one month away from the official start of wildfire season and bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. is running behind on inspections, repairs and tree-trimming that was ordered up to reduce the risk of another devastating blaze.

PG&E, due to circumstances beyond its control, such as a rainy winter and permitting requirements, has been finding it difficult carry out the fire-prevention measures, the San Francisco-based company said in a court filing late Thursday. As a result, it’s pushing back completion dates for fire-prevention work, PG&E told a federal judge who is supervising its criminal probation for previous safety lapses related to its natural gas pipeline system.

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 08:45 External News

Sea level rise, and its perils, is often associated with the East Coast. But California communities along the coast that don’t prepare for what’s ahead could be inviting disasters of the magnitude not yet seen in the state.

A report by the United States Geological Survey Climate Impacts and Coastal Processes Team suggests that future sea level rise, in combination with major storms like the ones the state is experiencing now, could cause more damage than wildfires and earthquakes.

This is the first study that looks not just at sea level rise in California, but also sea level rise, along with a major storm to assess total risk to coastal communities.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 07:45 External News

(TNS) - In Congress, battles are raging over disaster relief spending. Who should get the help? Puerto Rico, still seeking emergency reconstruction money in the wake of 2017 Hurricane Maria (and yes, Puerto Rico is part of the United States and just as deserving of help as, say, North Carolina)? How about Hawaii, where volcanic eruptions have seen molten lava destroy homes, roads and other infrastructure? Nebraska and Iowa, which were inundated by some of the worst flooding in their history? California, trying to rebuild from the most widespread and deadly wildfires the state has ever seen? Or the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia, where homes and farms were wiped out by the violent Hurricane Michael last year?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 08:00 External News

Wildfires have evidently been driving more Californians into the surplus lines market, pushing up homeowners surplus premium volume to more than $122 million in 2018, according to the Surplus Line Association of California.

“We have seen over the last five years an increase in homeowners every year,” said Ben McKay, executive director of the SLA-Cal.

Monday, April 22, 2019 - 06:15 External News

(TNS) - After the apocalyptic Camp Fire reduced most of Paradise to ashes last November, a clear pattern emerged.

Fifty-one percent of the 350 houses built after 2008 escaped damage, according to an analysis by McClatchy. Yet only 18 percent of the 12,100 houses built before 2008 did.

What made the difference? Building codes.

The homes with the highest survival rate appear to have benefited from “a landmark 2008 building code designed for California’s fire-prone regions – requiring fire-resistant roofs, siding and other safeguards,” according to a story by The Sacramento Bee’s Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 09:30 External News

California regulators expressed skepticism that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.’s new leaders have enough professional experience to instill the deep corporate culture of safety they say the company has lacked.

The utility has been blamed for more than a dozen of California’s most destructive wildfires in the past two years.