California Will Spend $1 Billion on Wildfire Prevention, Give Some Relief to Utility Companies

(TNS) — SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With an eye toward destructive wildfire as California’s most immediate climate emergency, Gov. Jerry Brown took action on Friday to broadly expand state prevention efforts while allowing utility companies to shift some fire-related costs to their customers.

The far-reaching proposal signed by Brown boosts government fire protection efforts by $1 billion over the next five years, providing funds that could help clear thousands of acres of dense, dry forests and brittle coastal brush. The bill’s combination of cash and regulatory relief mark a major escalation in addressing what’s been called the “new normal” of fire danger for the state, far beyond what’s been spent on immediate emergency responses.

Largest Wildfire in California History Officially 100% Contained

Officials announced on Wednesday that the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history, is now 100 percent contained.

The blaze burned a combined 459,123 acres, destroyed 280 structures including 157 residences, killed one firefighter and injured four others. The Mendocino fire north of San Francisco broke the record set in December, 2017, when the Thomas Fire killed two people, burned 440 square miles and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in Southern California.

California’s Governor: Insurance Fared Better in Wildfires Bill

California lawmakers didn’t go as far as Governor Jerry Brown wanted to address potential liabilities for utilities from wildfires, and the governor said that “it’s hard to say” if they ever would.

Brown, citing longstanding practice, declined to say if he would sign the bill passed last month that included measures considered beneficial for utilities such as PG&E Corp. But the wide-ranging plan didn’t tackle the issue of inverse condemnation, in which utilities can be held liable for costs if their equipment is found to have caused a fire — regardless of whether they followed safety rules. Brown had pushed a proposal that would have given utilities relief from the rule, which was opposed by insurance companies, trial lawyers and fire victims.

The science, skill – and luck – behind evacuation order calls

More than 1 million people in the Carolinas were ordered to evacuate days before Hurricane Florence hit landfall.

Government officials order coastal evacuation even when it’s sunny at the beach with not a cloud in the sky and no hint of the ominous threat thousands of miles away other than from satellite images. People who know I study hurricane evacuations have often asked me to explain this curious decision.

In the end, evacuation planning is part science, part skill based on experience, and part luck.

Wildfire season: Is this the new normal?

More than 500 wildfires were still burning in B.C. in September, with the Yukon, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the Atlantic provinces all experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in history. Globally, wildfires in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden and Australia are burning at an alarming rate.

According to John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change and director of the University of Saskatchewan-led Global Water Futures Program (GWF), this is a horrific year for wildfires not only in Canada, but around the world.

"You do not expect extensive wildfire in Swedish mountain tundra or in Welsh mountains, but we see that this year," said Pomeroy. "This is further evidence of remarkably fast changes in climate around the world as a result of new extremes of heat and variable precipitation, due to human-introduced greenhouse gasses."

9/11 Attacks Still Impacting Emergency Response 17 Years Later

Tuesday marks the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The tragic loss of around 3,000 lives that day is still impacting the way first responders prepare for and respond to emergencies.

In 2003, President George W. Bush directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a nationwide framework for emergency preparation and response, which is now known as the National Incident Management System.

Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger said it’s creation showed the federal government recognized that state and local responders are the first line of defense.

Incels and the Risk of Workplace Violence

Among the more frightening elements of the world we inhabit is the ever-evolving set of extremist ideologies that give rise to justifications for violence. Terrorism is perhaps the clearest example of such violence, but workplace attacks are also increasingly likely to be ideologically motivated. To prevent or manage the risk of incidents, employers must take a proactive approach to spotting radicalization of all kinds. It is therefore important for them to understand the potential threat of “incel” culture, an emerging extremist ideology rooted in anger at women and driven by a furious sense of entitlement.

California Cites Garment Contractors $570K, Some Lacked Workers’ Comp

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has cited six Los Angeles area garment contractors $573,704 for labor law violations after uncovering a scheme where the contractors illegally operated under one license to avoid compliance.

Four of the contractors did not have valid workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.

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