Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 08:00 External News

Electricity may be shut off to 50,000 Northern California utility customers this week to try to prevent power lines from sparking and igniting new wildfires during a predicted new round of gusty, hot and dry weather.

Customers in parts of 19 counties and in two tribal communities were notified Monday of a potential public safety power shutoff starting as early as Wednesday evening, Pacific Gas & Electric said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 11:00 External News

Unions representing over 10,000 Disney theme park workers have told California Gov. Gavin Newsom that the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., can safely reopen when its location moves into the state’s “orange tier” of COVID-19 test positivity and adjusted case rate.

“We wrote you in June 2020 to tell you that we were not yet convinced that it was safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s timetable,” the unions wrote in a letter dated Oct. 17. “Since then, Disney has taken safety measures we advocated, and engaged with their workers’ representatives, (such that) our original position has changed.”

Friday, October 16, 2020 - 09:15 External News

More than 50,000 California utility customers were without power and others around the state were urged to conserve electricity Thursday amid a fall heat wave that brought another round of extreme wildfire danger.

The National Weather Service issued heat advisories through Friday for temperatures in the 90s and even triple digits in many parts of the state.

Red-flag warnings for extreme fire danger were in place for much of the San Francisco Bay Area where winds bringing hot, dry gusts of up to 55 mph (88.5 kph) were expected to pose a threat of sparking new blazes in a region that already has seen some of the worst wildfires in state history.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 10:15 External News

(TNS) - A monster fire the likes of which has never been seen before in California has emerged out of the dystopian pall of wildfire and smoke that has blanketed the state.

The August Complex wildfire, which started out as 37 different fires in Mendocino National Forest, surpassed 1 million acres Monday, by far the largest conflagration in recorded state history, and it is still burning.

The ignominious milestone comes during a year that has already seen more flames than ever in the state. Thousands of homes have been destroyed, at least 31 people have been killed and choking smoke has darkened the skies from Eureka to San Diego.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 11:15 External News

(TNS) - The Bay Area and California are suffering a record-shattering wildfire season this year. Most recently, the Glass Fire burning in Sonoma and Napa counties has burned more than 40,000 acres and forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 people.

If you have not yet assembled an emergency plan, now is the time. No matter where you are in California, it’s important to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

When a wildfire evacuation is ordered, departing immediately and efficiently is paramount. If the crisis has already struck and you’re scrambling to respond, it can be hard to get the evacuation information you need. A matter of minutes can make a huge difference to your safe escape from a fire zone.

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 13:15 External News

(TNS) - Fire watchers tasked with helping prevent wildfires in Orange County will use virtual monitoring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orange County Fire Watch is using the virtual program in conjunction with its normal in-person monitoring activities.

OC Fire Watch is managed by Irvine Ranch Conservancy for OC Parks and the cities of Irvine and Newport Beach.

Tony Pointer, the conservancy’s fire watch manager, said the new system is crucial to keep volunteers safe, while maintaining adequate wildfire monitoring.

Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 11:45 External News

Silicon Valley’s innovation engine has been slow to produce useful new tools to help firefighters like Dave Winnacker extinguish the deadly blazes that each year fill California’s skies with smoke.

Winnacker, a fire district chief who led a team against the 2017 fires that scorched vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Valley, is interested in tools that can spot fires early and ease evacuations.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 11:30 External News

(TNS) - SAN JOSE, Calif. — The heavy smoke from wildfires that choked much of California in recent weeks was more than an inconvenience.

It was deadly. And it almost certainly killed more people than the flames from the massive fires themselves, health experts say.

Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 10, the historically bad concentrations of wildfire smoke were responsible for at least 1,200 and possibly up to 3,000 deaths in California that otherwise would not have occurred, according to an estimate by researchers at Stanford University. Those fatalities were among people age 65 and over, most of whom were living with pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and respiratory ailments.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 13:00 External News

(TNS) - The COVID-19 pandemic has largely been a story of numbers.

Daily reports tell us the number of new cases, the number of hospitalizations, the number of outbreaks and the number of deaths.

The numbers are a dispassionate, point-in-time measure necessary to track the footprint of the deadly coronavirus as it continues its advance into homes, businesses, churches, even hospitals.

But they can't quantify the sense of loss that has pervaded life since the pandemic began six months ago — the loss of intimacy, tradition, confidence, and economic well-being.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 13:00 External News

A wildfire burning through brush and timber from the mountains to the desert northeast of Los Angeles threatened more than 1,000 homes on Tuesday as crews across the West battled dozens of other major blazes.

The Bobcat Fire in Southern California was advancing at one to two miles per hour at times and threatened the Mojave Desert town of Pearblossom after burning into the Antelope Valley foothill area, across the San Gabriel Mountains from Los Angeles.

The blaze that began Sept. 6 has destroyed or damaged at least 29 homes and other buildings, with the toll rising to perhaps 85 when damage assessment teams can complete their work this week, authorities said.