California is well into its 5th year of drought and the effects are being felt in many ways. Wells are going dry, wildfires are burning more erratically, and trees are dying by the millions. The US Geological Survey says:
The time period of June 2015-May 2016 has been the 3rd warmest on record for California. California saw 2015 as the warmest year on record.
On January 17, 2014 California State Governor, Jerry Brown, declared a drought state of emergency.
On May 9, 2016, California State Governor, Jerry Brown issued an order to continue water savings as drought persists.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the El Niño event of 2015-16 has dissipated and has opened the door to its opposite: a La Niña.
The drought messages continue: conserve, reduce, reuse and find innovative ways to save. Cal OES enlisted pro skateboarding … continue reading »
The Blue Cut Fire is giving emergency managers and responders a run for their money. The fire’s path forced the closure of highways, killed power, and put a halt to rail lines that drive California’s economy, and then some. This story shows the challenges emergency crews face, including getting the trains back on track and housing hundreds of animals evacuated with their owners.
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In this episode we sit down with Andrew Lockman, Tulare County Emergency Manager. Lockman has been on the front line in the drought battle, with California now enduring its 5th year. Tulare County, specifically the town of East Porterville, is considered the epicenter of this natural disaster; it’s where several thousand people have been without drinking water in their homes because their wells went dry.
Emergency officials from the county and state, as well as non-governmental and volunteer organizations and individuals, have all been working to bring relief and solutions as quickly as possible. But it wasn’t until things got to this point that it was recognized as a disaster; it slowly sneaked up on everyone. And droughts weren’t in disaster plans so emergency managers had to wing it; they had no playbook to which they could refer. Lockman tells about the incredible challenges he and others faced to help the residents now, and the lessons learned and changes being made for future droughts.
Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci today secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the Cedar Fire burning in Kern and Tulare Counties. The FMAG also enables local, state and tribal agencies to recover eligible costs.
Thus far, the fire has burned approximately 19,200 acres, threatening structures near the areas off State Highway 155 towards Wofford Heights, Kernville and Alta Sierra. Cal OES is working with Cal FIRE, Kern County Fire Department and the US Forest Service to mobilize multiple fire strike teams and firefighters including fire engines, dozers, water tenders and fire retardant drops from aircraft as well as shelter operations staff and emergency communications capability.
Cal OES Fire, Law Enforcement and Inland Region personnel are currently working with other … continue reading »
It can easily be said that the area hardest hit by the drought is the Tulare County community of East Porterville. The severe California drought left many homes without water and relying on emergency water deliveries for the last few years. That will soon change for many in this drought-stricken community.
Today was an especially important day for the Ramirez family as running water flowed in their East Porterville home for the first time in years. They are the first of many East Porterville families connecting to a new, sustainable and permanent water source, and ending their need for emergency water.
This new source of water is known as the East Porterville Water Project and is a joint effort by Cal OES, the California Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board. Also … continue reading »
When the Blue Cut Fire burned its way through Cajon Junction north of San Bernardino two days ago it destroyed a railroad trestle on one of Union Pacific’s main lines, bringing rail traffic to a screeching halt, and subjecting UP trains to long delays and bypasses.
Photo by: Dan Thompson | Union Pacific Railroad
Photo by: Dan Thompson | Union Pacific Railroad
And that has a significant impact on commerce thats felt in California and the rest of the country. So UP crews are fast at work repairing the trestle as soon as possible to get trains and the goods they carry moving again.
Shawn Boyd shows us the work in progress in this brief video.
With ripe conditions fueling devastating wildfires across the state, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is relying on its mutual aid partnerships to mitigate the damage. Extending into a sixth year of historic drought and with extreme heat and tree mortality in California, wildfire dangers are increasing at an alarming rate.
Nearly two-dozen mutual aid strike teams alone have been deployed to battle the Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino County. Due to the speed and intensity of the fire, which had already consumed nearly 32,000 acres and was only four percent contained as of this morning, initial responders quickly realized the severity of the situation and requested additional resources from Cal OES.
Aside from mutual aid resources, Cal OES also has more than 140 fire engines that can be deployed if a … continue reading »