Crews Battling 4 Wildfires in Arizona

Hundreds of firefighters continued to battle three major wildfires burning in forested mountains and desert hills across Arizona.

Crews were fighting fires in the Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest overlooking Tucson, in the Tonto National Forest northeast of metro Phoenix, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in northeast Arizona and in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon.

California Approves PG&E Bankruptcy Plan With Oversight, Safety Conditions

California regulators approved PG&E Corp.’s $58 billion reorganization plan, bringing the power giant another step closer to exiting the biggest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted in favor of PG&E’s proposal after the company agreed to revamp its board and governance structure, submit to greater regulatory oversight and create local operating units to ensure a greater focus on safety.

Coronavirus a ‘Game Changer’ During California Wildfire Season

(TNS) — As forecasters predict higher-than-normal chances of large fires in Northern California this year — as well as the usual risk of “large significant” burning in Southern California — fire authorities are growing increasingly concerned over their ability to muster a large, healthy force of firefighters in the face of COVID-19.

Realizing that wildfire smoke will steadily impair a firefighter’s immune system, and that traditional base camps can magnify the risk of infection, federal, state and county officials are urging a blitzkrieg approach to wildfires that will rely heavily on the use of aircraft.

California Earthquake Authority Named Administrator of Wildfire Fund

The California Catastrophe Response Council, which oversees the Wildfire Fund, has formally named the California Earthquake Authority the fund’s administrator.

The Wildfire Fund was established by the California Legislature, under Assembly Bill 1054 and Assembly Bill 111, and was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 12, 2019. At that time, CEA was designated the fund’s interim administrator until the nine-member California Catastrophe Response Council could be formed and appoint an administrator.

New Mexico to Use Satellite Tracking During Wildfire Season

New Mexico has a new tool that could help crews get an early jump on any wildfires that might break out.

The State Forestry Division will be getting real-time alerts via a satellite tracking system designed by the Santa Fe-based startup Descartes Labs. The program can detect temperature increases from new fires using data that’s updated every few minutes. Text messages will then be sent to State Forestry with the location and a detailed map.

PG&E Not Committing to Expanding Tree-Trimming Force in California

Lawyers for Pacific Gas & Electric said the utility can’t commit to hiring hundreds more tree trimmers in the way that a federal judge wants to cut the risk of starting more catastrophic wildfires in California.

U.S. District Judge William Alsap ordered the utility last month to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to help prevent trees and branches from falling onto its power lines and igniting. The judge is overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation imposed after its natural gas lines blew up a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people in 2010. He has taken a strong interest in PG&E’s safety record after the company’s power lines started a series of wildfires that killed 130 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

California Bill Aimed at Property Insurance in Communities Investing in Wildfire Prevention

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County, has introduced Assembly Bill 3258, which would require property insurance providers to take into consideration local government investments in wildfire prevention when determining insurance rates.

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and a group of Legislators earlier this month introduced Assembly Bill 2367, which is being called Renew California. That bill would require admitted insurance companies to write or renew policies for existing homes in communities that meet a new statewide standard for fire-hardening. The bill also would authorize the insurance commissioner to require insurance companies to offer financial incentives for homeowners to do the work to make their homes more fire-safe.


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