2017 Year in Review: Floods, Wildfires and Drought

As the calendar year winds down and 2018 rapidly approaches, the final week of December presents the ideal opportunity to reminisce about what transpired over the previous 12 months. From wildfires to floods, as well as Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. rescinding the state’s prolonged drought emergency, it was another historical year for Californians.

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 2017:


Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in Counties Across California Following Severe Winter Storms

Original date: Jan. 23, 2017

Two emergency proclamations were issued to secure funding to help communities respond to and recover from severe winter storms that caused flooding, mudslides, erosion, debris flow and damage to roads and highways.


Avalanche Control Crews Keep Traffic Flowing and Travelers Safe

Original date: Feb. 3, 2017

This winter, massive amounts of snow blanketed the Sierras. The Lake Tahoe area and Highway 50 were especially impacted by extensive storms, and Caltrans was ready with operations to keep traffic moving and travelers safe.


Agency Work Rages on in Butte County and Around NorCal

Original date: March 3, 2017

Agencies – public and private – and their contractors have many irons in the fire in Butte County to make repairs to the Oroville Dam spillway, dredge the diversion pools, get the power plant back online and keep the community there and downstream safe.


Drought Emergency Rescinded but Tree Mortality Still Dire

Original date: April 14, 2017

After five-plus years of historic drought, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. rescinded the state of emergency order, excluding four counties, in the wake of one of the wettest winters in state history. Only Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties remain in a drought emergency.


Vegas Tragedy Raises Awareness of California Large Stadium Initiative

Original date: October 2, 2017

The question of public safety at large events is once again making headlines after the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured after a gunman opened fire on a music festival crowd Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. This shooting, on the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, is the latest reminder to be on high alert when attending large events.


Brave the Heat at the Cal FIRE Academy

Original date: Aug. 2, 2017

The heavy lifting of becoming a Cal FIRE firefighter begins in a small remote town in Northern California. Situated on a sprawling campus in Ione – about 40 miles from Sacramento – the Cal FIRE Academy uses a state-of-the-art facility to train future firefighters.


California Swiftly Answers Requests for Hurricane Response

Original date: Sept. 13, 2017

As two separate hurricanes battered the states of Texas and Florida just days apart, trained California personnel was strategically positioned to answer a request for assistance if needed.


Recovery & Remembrance from Devastating Wildfires

Original date: Nov. 4, 2017

It was the deadliest week of wildfires in California’s history. Watch as we go back to some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Sonoma County and show signs of hope already rising from the ashes.


More Out-of-State Engines Pulling into California to Battle Fires

Original date: Dec. 10, 2017

Nearly a week into the devastating wildfires that have burned more than 250,000 acres across five counties, out-of-state resources continue to pour into California. More than 150 engines from neighboring western states have responded to the state’s request for additional assistance to fight six significant wildfires in Southern California.


Largest Wildfire Debris Removal Operation in California History Moved a Half Million Tons Thus Far

Original date: Dec. 15, 2017

Just over two months after some of the most destructive fires in state history hit Northern California in October, which destroyed 8,900 structures and damaged thousands more, the debris removal program has reached a major milestone. To date, debris removal operations teams have moved more than 573,000 tons from the wildfire burn areas.

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, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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