'It was time to go.' Wildfires send Northern California residents fleeing again

SPRING VALLEY, LAKE COUNTY
Fueled by high temperatures, dry grasslands and gusting winds, a series of wildfires continued to burn across Northern California counties Monday as firefighters braced for what may be another brutal fire year for California.

Following the devastating firestorms that killed 44 people last fall and caused roughly $10 billion in damages, Cal Fire is warning that the number of fires and acreage burned so far this year is higher than the same six-month period last year, and far above the five-year average.

In the last week alone, Cal Fire has responded to 256 blazes, 90 of them just on Saturday and Sunday, Cal Fire spokesman Scott McClean said.

Can Your House Survive the Big Shake?

(TNS) - Would your house survive a massive earthquake?

Emergency management officials say the expected Cascadia subduction zone quake could shake the Rogue Valley so hard that houses could collapse or slide off their foundations, leaving thousands homeless, injured or worse.

Even newer houses built before 1993 could see enough damage that they become uninhabitable.

“We could see sustained shaking for two to five minutes that could cause significant damage,” warned Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards program coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. “Almost all the older homes need some kind of retrofit.”

Opioid crisis sending thousands of children into foster care

The opioid epidemic ravaging states and cities across the country has sent a record number of children into foster and state care systems, taxing limited government resources and testing a system that is already at or near capacity.

An analysis of foster care systems around the country shows the number of children entering state or foster care rising sharply, especially in states hit hardest by opioid addiction. The children entering state care are younger, and they tend to stay in the system longer, than ever before.

Safety Agency to Watch Tesla Car Fire Exam Following California Incident

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a technical specialist to observe Tesla Inc.’s examination of a Model S that caught fire in California on Friday, the agency said in a statement.

The action is not a formal probe of how the lithium-ion battery pack caught fire without being involved a crash, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said. NTSB’s participation in Tesla’s review “will provide the agency with an opportunity to learn more about fires in all types of battery-powered vehicles,” he said.

Will Your Cell Service Work if a Hurricane Rolls Through the Coast, and Will It Be Enough?

(TNS) — In the 13 years since Hurricane Katrina hit South Mississippi, much has changed.

A quick drive down U.S. 90 is a constant reminder of the past — the things that are new and that have been rebuilt and the places that are memories of life before the storm.

One of the things that changed significantly besides the landscape is technology. Facebook was in its infancy in 2005, having been launched the year before the storm, and most social media users were using MySpace. It would also be another two years before Apple released the iPhone and helped to usher in the era of smartphones and tablets.

University Students Create Spatial Analysis Tools to Help Cities Do More with Data

In this installment of the Innovation of the Month series (see last month's story here), we explore the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (MUSA) Practicum and how the graduate students in the program work with city officials to develop data science tools that their clients can use to determine how best to use their resources. The program is led by Professor Ken Steif along with Karl Dailey and Michael Fichman.

MetroLab’s Executive Director Ben Levine sat down with Professor Steif and some of the program’s graduate students to learn more.

California Wildfire Survivor Bills Pass Senate Committee

Four bills sponsored by the California Department of Insurance that the department believes will strengthen consumer protections for wildfire survivors have passed the Senate Insurance Committee with unanimous, bipartisan votes.

Assembly Bill 1772 would extend the amount of time a home or business owner has to rebuild an insured property from two to three years after a declared wildfire emergency and receive the full replacement costs to which they are entitled.

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