Southern California Begins Assessing Damage From Largest Earthquake in 20 Years

RIDGECREST, Calif. — Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico.

No fatalities or major injuries were reported after Friday night’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake. But warnings by seismologists that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days — if not weeks — prompted further precautions.

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.

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.

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.

More Electricity Outages to Hit California. How to Prepare

(TNS) — The era of available electricity whenever and wherever needed is officially over in wildfire-plagued California.

Pacific Gas & Electric served stark notice of that “new normal” this past weekend when it pre-emptively shut power to tens of thousands of customers in five Northern California counties. The utility warned that it could happen again, perhaps repeatedly, this summer and fall as it seeks to avoid triggering disastrous wildfires.

The dramatic act has prompted questions and concerns: What criteria did PG&E use? Did the shutdowns prevent any fires? And what can residents do to prepare for what could be days without electricity?

California Utilities Plan for the Dry, Hot Fire ‘Season’

(TNS) — With temperatures soaring and strong winds blowing through forests across Northern California over the weekend, rural areas in the Sierra Nevada foothills plunged into darkness after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off high-voltage transmission lines to avoid sparking wildfires.

The first formal deployment of its new Public Safety and Power Shutoff rules left more than 20,500 PG&E customers in portions of Butte and Yuba counties without power as 260 utility personnel conducted safety patrols, repaired electric infrastructure and inspected 800 miles of transmission and distribution lines, officials said.

PG&E Restructuring Plan Upped to $45B by Creditors

A group of PG&E Corp. creditors could preempt the embattled California utility’s own attempt to claw its way out of bankruptcy by presenting a restructuring plan that could be worth at least $45 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The plan builds on a proposal floated earlier this year. The updated plan includes substantially more cash for compensating existing wildfire victims, establishing a new statewide wildfire liability fund and recapitalizing PG&E, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

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