Death Toll from Northern California Wildfire Back Down to 85

The number of those who died in California’s deadliest wildfire is back down to 85 after authorities determined that a bone fragment previously classified as unidentified belongs to a victim named in January.

The Butte County Sheriff’s office said that the number of unidentified victims from the November 2018 Camp Fire now stands at one.

Possible Power Shutoffs as Fire Threatens in Northern California

(TNS) - Critical fire weather is threatening California, as high winds, low humidity and dry conditions combine to form a sometimes lethal mix, the National Weather Service warned Monday.

A red flag warning is in effect for more than 3.8 million Northern Californians for the next three days, as wind gusts blow through the region.

In Southern California, Santa Ana winds will carry in warmer temperatures along with elevated fire dangers, forecasters said.

Wildfire Risks Spark a Move to Microgrids in California

(TNS) — In his standard blue jeans and unbuttoned flannel shirt, David Liebman could blend in with many of the young students walking to and from classes at Santa Rosa Junior College.

But Liebman, manager of energy and sustainability for the college district, has something bigger on his mind than class assignments and midterm projects.

Liebman, 27, is heading a $5 million electrical infrastructure project that addresses climate change and fundamentally will transform the way energy is distributed and used on campus.

Santa Ana Winds Return to California Bringing Wildfire Danger

The Santa Ana winds have returned to California, a signal to the state’s residents that the wildfire season has begun in earnest.

The winds are created by high pressure over Nevada’s Great Basin as cool weather starts to arrive in the Fall. Low pressure systems in warmer California pull them along, and as they flow through the Sierra Nevadas and other ranges, twisting their way through narrow passes and canyons, they heat up, lose moisture and gain speed.

PG&E Reaches $11B Settlement Relating to California Wildfire Claims

Power producer PG&E Corp. said on Friday it has reached an $11 billion settlement agreement with entities representing about 85% of insurance subrogation claims relating to 2017 and 2018 wildfires.

The company said these claims were based on payments made by insurance companies to individuals and businesses with insurance coverage for wildfire damages.

PG&E Shut-offs Could be Catastrophic, California Officials Say

(TNS) - Northern California communities hit by some of the worst wildfires the state has ever seen are now preparing for another kind of disaster: prolonged power shut-offs caused intentionally by Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

PG&E has used its aggressive new strategy to prevent its equipment from starting another fire only on one weekend so far this year. But the utility is poised to turn off the lights much more in the coming months as hot, dry and windy weather persists during the most dangerous part of wildfire season.

The impacts may be extreme and unprecedented, cutting entire cities off from the electric grid for several days in the worst-case scenarios. In those instances, stoplights and even cell phones could stop working properly, local officials say, snarling traffic and hamstringing residents’ ability to communicate.

Santa Cruz, Calif., Residents Urged to Be ‘Firewise’

(TNS) — After five years of drought, Santa Cruzans became familiar with ways to make their lawns “water wise.”

Now, city public safety officials are hoping to make residents “firewise,” as well.

Santa Cruz Fire Department officials on Wednesday recognized volunteers from the Prospect Heights neighborhood for their efforts to earn Santa Cruz County’s first National Fire Protection Association certification for a Firewise USA program participant.

Artificial Intelligence Helps to Contain Wildfires, Predict Wild Weather

On a tower in the Brazilian rainforest, a sentinel scans the horizon for the first signs of fire.

Only these eyes aren’t human. They don’t blink or take breaks, and guided by artificial intelligence they can tell the difference between a dust cloud, an insect swarm and a plume of smoke that demands quick attention. In Brazil, the devices help keep mining giant Vale SA working, and protect trees for pulp and paper producer Suzano SA.

Another Extended Fire Season for Santa Cruz, California

(TNS) - As California continues to grapple with heightened wildland fire risk, Santa Cruz — with less exposure to risk than some areas — is readying for its worst-case scenarios.

As a rule, late summer and early fall is when fire response statewide and across jurisdictional borders tends to be hard and fast — stopping the conflagrations before they have time to take hold, according to Santa Cruz Fire Chief Jason Hajduk. Leading up to the fire season, however, the city has been doing extensive preventative work, creating “defensible space” that can stop a spreading fire in its tracks.

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