California Has Earthquakes, Wildfires, Floods and Volcanoes

(TNS) - Margaret Mangan didn’t sleep well in the weeks following the Ridgecrest, Calif., earthquakes. The July shaking triggered a swarm of smaller tremors in the nearby Coso Volcanic Field, a cluster of lava domes and cinder cones at the northern end of the Mojave Desert. And it was Mangan’s job to watch for a possible eruption.

“We were pretty much on 24-7 vigilance,” said Mangan, the longtime scientist-in-charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s California Volcano Observatory.

California Utility Creates New Tech to Stop Wildfires

(TNS) — California utilities are experimenting with a new technology that proponents say could help prevent both electricity shutoffs and equipment failure-related wildfires.

The technology comes as the Pacific Gas & Electric faces intense criticism over its Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which has led to hundreds of thousands of Californians being left without power, often for days at a time, in an effort to prevent failing equipment from starting wildfires.

California Lawmakers Push for Cell Backup After Fires

(TNS) — State legislators plan to push for measures to require at least 72 hours of backup power at cell towers after phone and internet service failed during widespread PG&E power outages.

Many cell towers have generators installed that can run days without refueling, but some have batteries that only last a few hours in locations where space limits or local regulations prohibit more. And in the middle of shut-offs or fire evacuations, companies can’t always access sites to install or refuel generators, cutting off service.

PG&E Cuts Power to 50K California Homes And Businesses During Wildfire Risk

About 50,000 homes and businesses across Northern California were without power on Wednesday during the latest planned outage instituted by utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to guard against risk of wildfire during dry, windy weather.

The precautionary shutoffs included considerably fewer customers than originally projected as a spokeswoman for the utility said improving weather conditions allowed them to keep the lights on in many areas.

Bankrupt PG&E Has a New Plan for California Wildfire Victims

(TNS) — PG&E Corp., struggling to regain control of its destiny as its bankruptcy case enters a pivotal phase, sweetened its offer to Northern California wildfire victims Monday, putting billions of additional dollars on the table to settle claims.

Under increasing pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the utility’s own bondholders and a consortium of municipalities trying to take over the company, PG&E said it would spend an additional $6.6 billion on wildfire claims, a move that could give the troubled utility a greater likelihood of surviving bankruptcy with its business intact.

900,000 Californians Prepare for Another Blackout Wednesday

(TNS) — More than 900,000 people in 25 California counties — including every Bay Area county but San Francisco — could lose power starting Wednesday as windy, dry conditions will greatly increase fire risk.

PG&E said Monday that 303,000 homes and businesses — each one roughly equivalent to 3 people — could be impacted as the company tries to stop its power lines from starting more fires. In the Bay Area, about 115,000 homes and businesses, equivalent to 345,000 people, could be impacted.

Nevada Hopes to Become a Model for Combating Wildfires in the West

(TNS) - Nevada’s political leadership is continuing to develop measures to combat the increasing threats posed by wildfires across American West and in the Silver State.

A committee of state lawmakers will begin meeting next year to discuss the effect wildfires have on Nevada, and to develop ideas for legislation to introduce in the 2021 session.

Californians Jumpy but Building Back a Year After Camp Fire

(TNS) - Chainsaws were humming and backhoes were beeping. Wood frames were being hammered into place.

It was the sound of Paradise rebuilding, one nail at a time.

“I love it up here — it’s beautiful,” said Holly Austin, watching from a camper as her husband and a small crew worked on their new garage on Paradise Avenue.

One year after the Camp Fire destroyed much of the town in California’s deadliest wildfire, Paradise is coming back to life. Eleven homes have been rebuilt, and the town has issued more than 300 permits to those who lost their homes and wouldn’t think of moving elsewhere.

Online Resources Offer Relief to California Fire Victims

Fires have terrorized Californians in the last several weeks, and various organizations from the private and public sectors have responded by offering an array of resources to help those who have been injured or displaced.

One resource comes from software company Socrata: a map of available Federal Emergency Management Agency shelters and open homes. The map has a search bar where a user can enter an address, at which point the map zooms in on that location, revealing any nearby places of refuge.

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