Marin Firefighters Renew Prevention Pleas Amid State Crises

(TNS) - As wildfires continue to rage across California — including the deadly Carr Fire that injured three Marin firefighters last week — Marin County fire Chief Jason Weber said it’s time to remind residents to be vigilant about fire prevention.

“What’s going on through my head is that I can’t believe it’s only July,” Weber said Monday. “How in the heck are we going to make it another three months, plus?”

Northern California Wildfire Rages; More Deaths, Evacuations Reported

Thousands of dazed evacuees struggled to keep their emotions in check while trying to take care of themselves and their pets as a deadly wildfire in Northern California raged into its fourth day.

Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage that the house she last saw under dark and windy skies had burned.

Calif. Carr Fire Claims 6 Lives

Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse in California, the Carr wildfire ignited, claiming six lives so far. The fire in Northern California near the city of Redding has been burning since July 23 and is now one of the largest in the state.

Almost 90,000 acres have burned, destroying more than 500 homes and commercial buildings and damaging 135 structures. Firefighters, who are working 24- to 36-hour shifts with little rest in between, said they are making progress and are now on the offense rather than in a defensive mode.

“Although it’s too early for credible insured loss estimates, the current California wildfires could noticeably impact exposed insurers’ 3Q 2018 earnings,” KBW said in a statement today.

Experts say urban sprawl, climate change heighten wildfire risk

A fire that started in a rural community in Northern California underscored a new reality in the state when days later it suddenly roared through neighborhoods on the edge of the city of Redding: Urban areas are increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.

In the last year, neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa and the Southern California beach city of Ventura have been devastated.

Hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. But they also blame municipalities that are expanding housing into previously undeveloped areas.

California Governor Taking PG&E Closer to Fire Law Changes

California utility giants PG&E Corp. and Edison International are one step closer to changing a state law that has exposed them to billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities.

Late Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a bill that would require a court to consider whether a utility acted “reasonably” when deciding whether it should end up on the hook for fire damages. Brown said the proposal wouldn’t affect the potential liabilities PG&E and Edison face for blazes that devastated the state in 2017. Still, it’s a win for PG&E, which has been lobbying hard to change a policy that holds utilities responsible for the costs of wildfires their equipment caused, even if they weren’t negligent.

Deadly Ferguson Wildfires Threaten Access to Yosemite Park

The Ferguson wildfires have been spreading in Mariposa County, California on the western edge of Yosemite National Park for days, burning 27 square miles and taking the life of one firefighter.

The Mercury News reported that more than 1,400 firefighters have been on the scene trying to protect 100 nearby homes and businesses that are in the fire’s path as it moves south and east.

The fires began July 13 at about 8:30 p.m. and by July 15 had nearly doubled to 9,300 acres. On Wednesday it was at 17,319 acres and 5% contained. And while authorities have not declared an official cause, Colin Gannon, senior data analyst at Four Twenty Seven, which studies the economic risk of climate change, said weather and environmental conditions are certainly contributing factors.

Deadly Yosemite Fire Grows to 4,310 Acres, Evacuations Ordered

(TNS) — With high temperatures and steep, rugged terrain hampering firefighters, a deadly wildfire along the Merced River near Yosemite National Park quadrupled in size overnight and pushed closer to the park Sunday.

The Ferguson fire in Mariposa County had burned through 4,310 acres and was just 2 percent contained Sunday evening, fire officials said. Some 500 firefighters were working the blaze on the ground with support from aircraft.

No structures had burned but 108 were threatened as firefighters worked to protect structures along Highway 140 and prevent the blaze from crossing Ferguson Ridge.

Will California Wildfires Be Worse This Year?

As blame for California’s wildfires rises over Sacramento like smoke from last year’s blazes, the state is being forced to confront the possibility that it’ll happen again in 2018.

California’s drought is worsening, and blazes have charred more acres in the first six months of this year than they did in the same period in 2017, a year that ultimately set records for destruction and deaths. The state is covered with dried-out brush and the skeletal branches of 129 million trees killed by a bark-beetle infestation. Hundreds of miles of electric transmission lines run through the dead forests and crisscross hills crowned with golden, dried grass.

California Wildfire Insurance Policy Notification Bill Signed

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to requires insurance companies to let homeowners know whether their policies are sufficient to rebuild or replace their homes after a disaster.

Assembly Bill 1799, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County, addresses consumer protection and underinsurance issues uncovered by the devastating 2017 wildfire season.

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