Wildfire Camera System Provides a Small Measure of Good News in California

As California grapples with increasingly deadly wildfires with seemingly few real solutions, one small but effective way of saving communities is getting more attention and traction: deploying a network of infrared cameras on mountaintops and other high hazard areas.

The AlertWildfire network, consisting of some 80 cameras already dispersed among California forests, has already proven its worth on several occasions. As recently as last week in San Diego County, cameras caught two fire start-ups and allowed fire personnel to put them down with the appropriate amount of manpower.

Despite Repeated California Fires and Other Disasters, Emergency Evacuations Keep Falling Short

(TNS) - Leigh Bailey, 54, was awakened not by her phone, warning her about an incoming fire that would soon destroy her town, but by a neighbor pounding on her door.

Bailey had no idea how bad the fire was about to become. So she went back inside around 9:15 a.m., had a cup of tea and ate some coffee cake and slowly packed some clothes and her dog and cat before heading out of her home in Magalia, just north of Paradise.

Solutions to Wildfires in Time of Climate Change Are Costly, Unpopular

California’s deadly wildfires have a straightforward solution, experts say: stop building homes in places that are likely to burn — and make homes that already exist in those areas a whole lot tougher.

That approach, wildfire and climate policy experts are quick to add, would be expensive and unpopular, especially in a state with both a housing shortage and stunning wooded landscapes that people want to live in. But as climate change causes more frequent and shocking blazes, they say anything less won’t make enough of a difference.

California's Camp Fire Becomes The Deadliest Wildfire In State History

Fire investigators in Northern California say they found the human remains of 6 more individuals, bringing the death toll to at least 48 people who have died in the wildfire that burned through the town of Paradise with shocking speed, making the Camp Fire the deadliest wildfire in state history.

Fire crews are working to fight that blaze, along with another large wildfire in Southern California, where at least two deaths have been reported.

Camp Fire Victim: PG&E Told Her it Needed to Fix Sparking Transmission Line Day Before Deadly Blaze

(TNS) - The day before firefighter radio transmissions revealed a malfunctioning PG&E power line may have triggered the state’s most destructive wildfire, a business owner in this tiny town near the Camp Fire’s origin said she received an email from the utility alerting her that workers had to fix a sparking problem on a nearby power line.

In the email received Wednesday, the company said they’d be coming out to work on one of their nearby towers that “were having problems with sparks,” said Betsy Ann Cowley, owner of Pulga, a former abandoned railroad town turned retreat popular with techies.

“This needs to become a class action lawsuit,” the former Oakland resident said.

California Wildfire Threats Could Lead Pacific Gas & Electric to Cut Power to Parts of Nine Counties

(TNS) - Gusty northern winds, dry vegetation and low humidity across the Bay Area have created prime circumstances for wildfires, prompting a red flag warning Wednesday and possible power shutoffs for Northern California residents.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued the red flag warning to take effect from Wednesday night to Friday morning in the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills. Those areas are expecting wind gusts up to 45 mph, and any fires that spark could spread rapidly. The biggest threats exist in the hills of eastern Napa County and areas around Atlas Peak, Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton, officials said.

Uber and Lyft Slowing Traffic in San Francisco, Says Report

The experience of moving through San Francisco in a car has gone from slow to crawl.

Congestion in the Bay Area flagship city has grown increasingly worse, and a new report by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority placed a sizable portion of that blame on ride-hailing services like Lyft or Uber.

“It appears that TNCs (transportation network companies) contributed approximately 50 percent of the overall increases in congestion in San Francisco between 2010 and 2016,” the report reads.

Power Customers in California File Claims in Pre-Emptive Wildfire Outage

A Northern California utility received 146 demands for reimbursement from customers who say Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s controversial decision to cut power to prevent wildfires hurt them economically.

The utility said Wednesday in a report to California regulators that it won’t pay any claims. PG&E shut power to 60,000 Northern California customers from Oct. 14 to Oct. 16 after it determined that forecast sustained winds of 25 mph gusting to 45 mph threatened to bring down power lines and start wildfires. It was the first time PG&E cut power to prevent wildfires.

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