2016 Year in Review: Wildfires, Gas Leak and More..

With New Year’s Day rapidly approaching, the final days of the calendar year present the ideal opportunity to reminisce about 2016. From wildfires to a national-captivating gas leak, as well as the state’s prolonged historic drought, it was another eventful year for Californians.

And Cal OES was there to document it all.

Below is a list of 10 memorable stories, grabbed directly from our blog on relevant news and public-safety reminders, from 2016:


Tests Confirm Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Permanently Sealed

Original date: Feb. 18, 2016

On Feb. 18, state regulators confirmed the natural gas leaking well at the Aliso Canyon storage field near Los Angeles has been permanently sealed.

Search and Rescue Coordinators Learn Life-Saving Techniques in Sierras

Original date: Feb. 25, 2016

On Feb. 2, occasional heavy snow greeted travelers heading up Highway 50 to South Lake Tahoe.  While the wintry conditions caused treacherous roadways for commuters, it presented the ideal backdrop for search and rescue coordinators from various agencies throughout California participating in the Winter Search and Rescue Operations at Camp Richardson Resort.

Youth Educated in CERT Mock Disasters

Original date: Mar. 16, 2016

Fifth grader Trent Boothby was covered in blood and groaning in pain. His classroom at Maria Montessori Charter Academy had just been leveled by an F3 tornado, or at least that was the presented mock disaster during a Wednesday morning exercise.

Cal OES Director Discusses Proposed Earthquake Early Warning System

Original date: May 16, 2016

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. revised the May budget to add a $10 million proposal for new funding into the Earthquake Early Warning system (EEW). The funding augmentation is to increase financial support to the state’s seismic network, which consists of researching when and where earthquakes occur in California.

Search and Rescue Mutual Aid Effort Pays Off – Missing Hiker and Dog Found Alive

Original date: May 19, 2016

When 23-year-old Cody Michael of Rocklin and his German Shepherd Bauer failed to return from a hike on Monday to Lower Loch Leven Lake, his family knew something was wrong. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office immediately began search and rescue (SAR) operations but quickly realized they needed more help.

Cal OES Joins Multiple Agencies to Commence Tree Removal Project

Original date: June 10, 2016

The drive into the Sierra Nevada region of Tuolumne County is peaceful and surrounded by picturesque scenery. But trekking deeper into the woods provides a more disconcerting visual. Drought, bark beetle and other stresses have contributed to massive tree mortality with an estimated 29 million tree deaths in California.

Debris Removal in Burn Areas Nears Completion

Original date: June 17, 2016

Removing debris from more than 140,000 acres of scorched earth in rural areas was no easy task. That was the scenario following last year’s Butte Fire in Calaveras County and Valley Fire in Lake County.

Erskine Fire Burns Through Communities Near Lake Isabella

Original date: June 24, 2016

Law enforcement and fire agencies from around California form mutual aid teams in response to the raging Erskine Fire in Kern County.

Relief Begins to Flow at Epicenter of California Drought

Original date: Aug. 19, 2016

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.

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California Deploys Personnel to Florida to Assist with Hurricane Matthew Response

Original date: Oct. 7, 2016

Specially-trained personnel from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California National Guard (CNG) with emergency response and management expertise have been deployed to assist with emergency response activities in Florida and neighboring states.

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, multiple wildfires, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017 and the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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