California is Burning

Dakota Tebaldi

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Meanwhile, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the utility provider for much of northern California, has announced that, in the wake of last year's destructive Camp Fire, they will begin cutting off electricity in vulnerable areas during high fire risk periods, such as days with high hot, dry winds.
Huh. I guess it must be easier to just do that and let people bake to death on the hottest days of the year than to hire crews to go out and trim branches around transmission lines now and then like every other freaking power company in the country does.
 

Govi

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The solution to this and so many other problems is photovoltaic solar cells (and overnight battery storage systems) for each home, which would allow PG&E to eliminate their residential power distribution network in places like Paradise; no network, no fires caused by network. It's not being talked about though, here in California, as a solution to the fire hazard that wind plus power-lines constitute. :(
 

Selinica

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Huh. I guess it must be easier to just do that and let people bake to death on the hottest days of the year than to hire crews to go out and trim branches around transmission lines now and then like every other freaking power company in the country does.
That's a tiny part of the overall problem. Where my parents live (just for an example, I don't want to specifically state the city) PG&E isn't just trimming trees they're for free removing trees that are dead and/or within X distance to the power lines for people.
Thing is, the drought has hit the forested areas really hard along with bark beetles spreading badly in sections. Whole stands are getting clearcut since the trees are dead and a fire hazard.
They and the county can barely keep up in one city and that is one small town, not a bigger area. CA with the drought and forests that are extremely overgrown (I believe historic density of the old growth forests is 20-30 trees per acre and the current density is around 120 trees per acre with almost no forest that isn't old growth) is basically a tinderbox that can't be cleared fast enough to be safe.

Fuck PG&E after the camp fire and everything else they have done, but they are doing tree trimming.
It's just tree trimming in CA currently is like trying to put out a forest fire by spitting on it and the fuel load is a major problem that needs to be dealt with on a county/state level or the fires will keep on going. Especially since a lot of the native trees and plants in CA forests rely on the natural fires from lightning to reproduce or grow and are not adapted in the slightest for the sheer infernos that currently happen and instead of a healthy forest, you end up with these massive burn scars that have great difficulty regrowing.
 

Eunoli

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In Washington state last year, there were 1,744 fires that affected nearly 439,000 acres, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Of those, 1,457 were human-caused, accounting for nearly 280,000 of the acres that burned.
Fire risk in Western Washington 2019

It isn't just California. Its the entire Pacific Northwest. People are getting asthma and other lung diseases. Kids are now growing up who have never had a whole summer playing outside. Can any of us imagine what it is like to be in grade school and never having been allowed to play outside in summer? That isn't even counting the hit to the local economies in places where fields are burning and/or businesses are closing because no one can go outside for non-important reasons for much of the summer.

Yes, forest management is important. But, a lot of these fires start from entirely non-related things. The smallest of sparks can start a giant wildfire in the conditions that climate change is bringing. Human caused fires are also a huge portion. There really is no way to prevent them all even with an alert population. They are just a fact of life in the PNW now, and that is really sad. If we had a real administration in Washington (DC, that is), there would be a national emergency about this by now. We can't afford to lose this much old forest growth every year. But, alas...

We were shopping when the news showed that the first wildfire of the season had started. The saleswoman standing there turned and said "I don't know why they don't start raking the forest." That was when I knew that as long as Trump is in office, this issue won't even be combated, much less won.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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We were shopping when the news showed that the first wildfire of the season had started. The saleswoman standing there turned and said "I don't know why they don't start raking the forest." That was when I knew that as long as Trump is in office, this issue won't even be combated, much less won.
I would have handed her a leaf rake and told her to get to it.
 

Kara Spengler

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I was really pretty boggled that someone actually bought that line.
lehtien haravointi ...

(translation from Finnish: raking leaves)
 

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And it begins.

The first large fire of the season is currently burning in Yolo County near Sacramento. Dubbed the Sand Fire, it has burned 2,200 acres since it started yesterday. 300 residents in the area have been evacuated, and seven buildings have been destroyed. The fire is currently only 20 percent contained.
Sand Fire in Yolo County torches 2,200 acres, forcing evacuations

In Southern California, the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park and nearby Hurricane Harbor water park in Santa Clarita have been self-evacuated out of caution due to a brush fire that has so far burned 40 acres and is only 20 percent contained. The parks are expected to reopen tomorrow.
Magic Mountain evacuated as fast-moving brush fire burns nearby
 

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The Sand Fire burning in the northwestern part of Yolo County near Sacramento has been held at 2,200 acres while containment has improved to 50 percent. Mandatory evacuation orders for the area have been lifted, however residents are being urged to stay away for now. Firefighters have had to deal with 100+ degree temperatures while fighting the fire, with even hotter temperatures expected tomorrow. Winds have stayed light.
Containment on Sand fire in Yolo County grows
 

Katheryne Helendale

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The Sand Fire in Yolo County grew a bit in size, having burned just over 2,500 acres as of Tuesday evening amid scorching temperatures up and down the state reaching triple digits in most inland locations. Containment has also increased to 70 percent. State highways 16 and 20 are closed in the affected areas.
Sand Fire grows to 2,500 acres, record-breaking temps fuel blazes elsewhere
 

Katheryne Helendale

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The Sand Fire in northwestern Yolo County has been held to 2,512 acres and is now 90 percent contained. Temperatures, which had been in the 100's, is expected to cool somewhat, which will be a welcome relief for firefighters working on the blaze.
Crews make steady progress battling Sand Fire in Yolo County

A new brush fire sparked this afternoon near Shandon, a tiny community in eastern San Luis Obispo County east of Paso Robles. In a few hours, the McMillan Fire exploded to more than 2,000 acres and closed State Highway 46, a major valley-to-coast highway connecting the southern part of the Central Valley to the central coast. The burn area is largely unpopulated, and firefighters were able to stop forward progress of the fire and have it 50 percent contained. Highway 46 has recently reopened.
UPDATE: McMillan Fire now 50% contained, forward progress stopped
 
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Katheryne Helendale

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The Sand Fire in northwestern Yolo County has held at 2,512 acres and is reported by Cal Fire to be 95 percent contained.
http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/2322

Updated mapping of the McMillan Fire burning in the eastern portion of San Luis Obispo County near the town of Shandon east of Paso Robles has the fire at 1,764 acres. Cooler temperatures aided the firefighters in gaining 95 percent containment of the fire.
UPDATE: Containment on McMillan Fire in Shandon increased to 95 percent
 

Katheryne Helendale

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The Sand Fire, the state's largest wildfire this season so far, which scorched 2,512 acres of Yolo County, is finally fully contained. During the week it has burned, it destroyed seven buildings, none of them homes.
Sand Fire in Yolo County fully contained after a week

The McMillan Fire burning in eastern San Luis Obisbo County, the second largest fire so far this season at 1,764 acres, was fully contained late Thursday night. Although it had closed a major highway for a while, there have been no reports of any structural damage.
UPDATE: McMillan Fire in Shandon fully contained
 
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Mistryl Glyn

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I noticed that one of my long-standing dream places to live now has a LOT of houses on the market, with much lower home prices. It's out in the one of the forested areas that was touched by fire last year.

I really enjoy nature, so I'm really pondering the move, despite the apparent exodus.
 

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It wasn't a wildfire, but a major shakeup of southern California that made news today. At around 10:33 this morning, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near the city of Ridgecrest located northeast of Los Angeles, where San Bernardino, Inyo, and Kern Counties meet. There were no reports of death or serious injury, but there was a fair bit of damage done to structures, roadways, and the contents of store shelves. The earthquake was felt hundreds of miles from the epicenter. This earthquake was not along the famous San Andreas faultline.

 
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Katheryne Helendale

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If these things keep happening, I may need to create a new thread!

Just over a day after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook much of the state, an even larger 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Ridgecrest just after 8pm this evening. The quake was felt as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Sacramento and Reno, NV. This is the strongest earthquake that California has had in nearly 20 years, and was stronger than the 6.7 Northridge earthquake that struck northern Los Angeles in 1994. There are reports of numerous structure fires and other damage as well as injuries, though none of the injuries were major. Power is out throughout the region. There is the chance of strong aftershocks and even another major earthquake along this faultline, which is growing because of the earthquakes and their aftershocks.