ShakeAlertLA Works, but Residents Want Even More Notice

(TNS) — More than 500,000 people have downloaded Los Angeles County’s new ShakeAlertLA app to warn them of impending earthquakes.

So when the two strongest earthquakes in almost two decades hit Southern California this month, those residents were surprised by what they saw on their smartphones: nothing.

Officials were quick to explain to outraged app users that the shaking in the county wasn’t strong enough to trigger an alert.

Oregon Agency Charged with Earthquake Study and Preparation Could Be Abolished

The state agency in charge of earthquake study and preparation, as well as monitoring mining efforts in Oregon, could be shut down after going over budget for the second time in four years.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, widely known as DOGAMI, will lose three staff members and the Governor’s office is considering whether the agency should continue to exist in its current form given its financial issues.

California Hopes Emergency Projects Guard Against Wildfires

(TNS) — After battling the most destructive wildfires in California’s history over the past two years, Cal Fire is rolling out emergency fuel reduction projects to help protect the state’s most vulnerable communities.

The 35 projects span the state, from Siskiyou to San Diego counties. One crucial effort in the Sacramento area, the North Fork American River Shaded Fuel Break, is a fuel break project that covers 850 acres around the city of Colfax in Placer County.

A fuel break is an area of land where vegetation has been transformed to make fires more controllable, Cal Fire officials told reporters Thursday at the Colfax project site. Methods involve chipping and prescribed burning.

Cyber Insurers Need Loss Data to Properly Underwrite Risks

While there are “huge opportunities” on the horizon for the cyber insurance industry, cyber insurance underwriters still face the challenge of not having enough historical data to work with.

“It’s really scary to underwrite something when you just don’t know what the potential losses could be,” said Brian Meredith, managing director at UBS Group AG, during a panel discussion on trends in the property/casualty insurance sector at S&P’s 2019 Global Insurance Conference in New York. “There’s lots of opportunity here, but we need a lot more data to expand it.”

California Governor Wants Wildfire Fund to Help Utilities

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pressing lawmakers on a wildfire fund that may be financed through bonds to help utilities pay for the catastrophic blazes their power lines keep igniting, according to people familiar with the proposal.

Newsom is proposing a so-called liquidity fund that could be seeded by at least $10 billion in Department of Water Resources bonds, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The administration may also ask utilities to contribute about $7.5 billion in equity, the people said.

Bird Knocks Out 84% of Massive California Solar Farm

An “avian incident” sparked a fire at one of California’s biggest solar farms, affecting 1,200 acres and knocking out 84% of the California Valley Solar Ranch’s generating capacity.

The June 5 incident didn’t damage solar panels at the 250-megawatt power plant, but distribution poles and cables need to be replaced, according a regulatory filing Wednesday from owner Clearway Energy Inc. The company didn’t say exactly how the blaze was ignited.

Can Government Manage Risks Associated with Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence can help government agencies deliver better results, but there are underlying risks and ethical issues with its implementation that need to be resolved before AI becomes part of the fabric of government.

Based on insights from an expert roundtable led by the IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service, agencies will need to address multiple risks and ethical imperatives in order to realize the opportunity that AI technology brings. These include:

Cal/OSHA Cites Solar Panel Installer $193K for Willful Fall Protection Violation

Cal/OSHA has cited an Anaheim, Calif. solar panel installation company $193,905 for multiple serious workplace safety hazards including one willful serious accident-related violation, following an investigation of a worker who was seriously injured after they fell from the roof of an Oakland home.

Cal/OSHA determined that Nexus Energy Systems Inc. did not provide required fall protection for their workers.

California Heat Stokes Fire Risk, Residents Asked to Curb Power Use

A second day of unrelenting heat is scorching California, sending temperatures to near record levels, raising risk of wildfires and prompting calls for energy conservation.

Temperatures surged past 100 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Northern California Tuesday, with heat advisories in effect across the state. Sacramento was forecast to hit 103 degrees.

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