FEMA Opens Disaster Recovery Center in Paradise, Calif., Offering Services to Camp Fire Victims

(TNS)— With deadlines approaching for Camp Fire victims to get assistance, FEMA has opened a new disaster recovery center in Paradise to connect residents with emergency services.

The second phase of debris removal has begun, said Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Jovanna Garcia, and Paradise is beginning to fill with people again. Some businesses have reopened, some people whose houses survived the fire have moved back in, and people are coming through every day to return to their properties.

California Utility Equipment Sparked More Than 2,000 Fires in Over Three Years

(TNS) — Equipment owned by California's three largest utilities ignited more than 2,000 fires in three years — a timespan in which state regulators cited and fined the companies nine times for electrical safety violations.

How the state regulates utilities is under growing scrutiny following unprecedented wildfires suspected to have been caused by power line issues, blazes that have destroyed thousands of homes and killed dozens of people.

What the Camp Fire Revealed

Natural disasters are equalizing forces. Fires torch the homes of the rich and the poor alike. Hurricanes destroy cruise ships as well as decade-old cars. Earthquakes level cities, affecting everyone within. But natural disasters are also polarizing forces. Income and wealth shape who gets hit; how much individuals, insurers, nonprofits, and governments are willing and able to help; and who recovers, as well as to what extent.

More Evacuations Ordered in Burn Areas as Record Rain Soaks Southern California

(TNS) - A storm over Southern California dumped rain and snow on the area Monday, heightening the threat of mud and debris flows in areas scarred by recent wildfires, prompting evacuation orders, and closing a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and the Grapevine section of the 5 Freeway.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for western Los Angeles County and Ventura County, warning that roads, streams and highways could pool with rain as showers are expected through the week.

As rain pelted the state Monday, setting new rainfall records in Burbank and Sandberg, a town near the Grapevine, officials began to close roads that were too dangerous for traffic.

Updating California’s Fire Risk Maps Will Take Time, New Tech

(TNS) — State firefighters are taking on the colossal task this year of updating maps that highlight the most fire-prone areas in California.

Fire officials in Marin say the maps, last updated more than a decade ago, are a helpful planning resource. But in California’s current climate, some say, those projections aren’t as relevant as they once were — the whole state is susceptible to flames.

California Wildfires, Hurricane Michael Top List of 2018’s Costliest Natural Disasters: Munich Re

The costliest natural catastrophes occurred in the United States in 2018 with one of California’s devastating wildfires and Hurricane Michael topping the list, according to Munich Re.

A report from Munich Re on last year’s natural disasters pointed to “clear indications” that man-made climate change is a factor in California’s wildfires.

California Utility Sued by Insurers Over Wildfire Damages

Several insurance companies have filed lawsuits blaming Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for a deadly California wildfire that destroyed 14,000 homes and triggered billions of dollars in insurance claims.

The lawsuits filed by Allstate, State Farm, USAA and their subsidiaries come on top of several other cases filed by victims of the Camp Fire, which devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow north of Sacramento after it started Nov. 8.

Power Restored to Last of 10K Paradise Residents Hit by California Wildfire

A Northern California utility says it has restored power interrupted by a wildfire six weeks ago to all customers able to receive it.

Pacific Gas & Electric said this week the last of about 10,000 residents of Paradise and the surrounding area that lost electricity on Nov. 8 had their power restored by Sunday night. The San Francisco-based utility said it still working to restore natural gas service to many customers.

Northern California's Chico Opens Its Arms to Camp Fire Survivors. But There Are Limits

(TNS) — More than any other Northern California community, Chico has opened its arms to Camp Fire survivors from nearby Paradise.

An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 evacuees have crowded into Chico following the deadliest wildfire in California history, swelling the population by at least 10 percent in a city that was already laboring under a housing shortage. Survivors are taking relatives' spare bedrooms and sleeping in campers in friends' backyards, while their children now attend school in Chico's churches and community centers — and even in a vacant spot in the city's main shopping mall.

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