On the Front Lines of Wildfires, Counties Fear Waning Funding

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Yosemite National Park, and described it as “a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.” Residents of Tuolumne County, Calif. like myself are blessed to have that solemn cathedral in our back yard. The wonders of the Yosemite Valley draw millions of tourists to our communities each year to hike, camp and explore this natural treasure.

Will growing scenes of hurricanes, wildfires and volcanoes make us a go-bag people?

Will repeated exposure to vivid scenes of natural disaster – Western wildfires, a global heat wave, Hawaiian volcano eruptions, the 2017 hurricanes’ anniversary and a suddenly active 2018 season – finally turn America into a go-bag nation, prepared for calamity and ready to flee it?

Experience counsels skepticism. So does human nature.

California Lawmakers OK Bill to Help PG&E Pay for Wildfire Costs

California lawmakers passed legislation to help utility giant PG&E Corp. pay for billions of dollars in potential liabilities from wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country last year.

The state Assembly and Senate approved a wide-ranging plan Friday that includes directing regulators to limit how much PG&E shareholders would cover from the 2017 fires that killed dozens of people. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, who has supported helping PG&E dodge fiscal distress.

California Legislature Passes Bill Aimed Collecting Data and Helping Wildfire Victims

The California Legislature has passed Senate Bill 824, a bill aimed at provided information to the California Department of Insurance related to fire risk information on the residential property policies issued by insurers.

The bill prohibits insurers from canceling or refusing to renew a policy based solely on the fact that the insured structure is located in the area of a declared state of emergency.

Report Shows California Wildfires, Climate Change Altering Insurance Landscape

Insurers may be non-renewing more in wildfire-prone areas of California, sending an increasing number of people to the residual market or to surplus lines insurers.

A report released on Monday shows that market shares of the FAIR Plan, the state’s residual insurance market, and the surplus lines market, are on the rise, as people look for coverage, and look for more affordable coverage.

‘Patchwork’ System Leaves Some Californians Out of Emergency Alerts

(TNS) — Before the flames appeared, Sandie Freeman thought the sky above her Redding home looked especially beautiful.

The evening was golden hued and still; pretty enough that she took a picture. Minutes later, a light wind picked up and leaves from her oak tree began falling like rain, she said.

It was the only warning she received that something was amiss.

Wildfires are inevitable – increasing home losses, fatalities and costs are not

Wildfire has been an integral part of California ecosystems for centuries. Now, however, nearly a third of homes in California are in wildland urban interface areas where houses intermingling with wildlands and fire is a natural phenomenon. Just as Californians must live with earthquake risk, they must live with wildfires.

Shaped by ignitions, climate and fuels, wildfires are likely to become more frequent and severe with climate change. The 2017 experience of the largest and most damaging wildfires in California history, and ongoing destructive fires in 2018, provide a window of opportunity for learning to better coexist with wildfire.

WILDFIRE SMOKE IS SMOTHERING THE US—EVEN WHERE YOU DON'T EXPECT IT

AMERICA IS ON fire … again. More than a million and a half acres are burning in 15 states, from Arizona to Alaska. More than 3,000 firefighters are working to contain the Mendocino Complex Fire 100 miles north of San Francisco, now the largest in California history, and over the weekend, lightning strikes sparked dozens of new wildfires across the state of Washington. Near Mount Shasta, the deadly Carr Fire has so far incinerated 1,077 homes, forced mass evacuations, and killed eight.

Putting a few hundred miles between you and combustion country certainly confers some measure of safety. But not as much as you might think. While wildfires are geographically limited by nearby fuel sources, wildfire smoke goes wherever the wind takes it. Carried on eastward-flowing air currents, dangerous particulate matter from wildfires is increasingly smothering large swathes of the US, causing health scares wherever these air pollution spikes hit. Welcome to the United States of Smoke.

The Next Record-Breaking Fire Will Happen Soon. So How Will California Pay for it?

(TNS) - The Thomas fire that roared through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December broke records, becoming the state’s largest wildfire in recorded history. But not for long. This month, the Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California broke a record for acres burned. Will the record be broken in another few months or sometime next year? It seems possible, given what fire officials and state leaders say about California’s heightened wildfire risk because of the effects of climate change.

California Lawmakers Resume Deliberations Over Wildfire Safety, Utilities' Response

(TNS) - When a special legislative committee held its first public hearing in response to the North Bay wildfires two weeks ago in Sacramento, there were eight major wildfires burning across California.

When the 10-member bipartisan panel met again Tuesday, the number of conflagrations had doubled, and the marauding Mendocino Complex fires had scorched more than 292,000 acres in three counties or more than 450 square miles.

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