After six-plus years of historic drought, Governor Edmund G. Brown rescinded the state of emergency order, excluding four counties, in the wake of one of the wettest winters in state history.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.
The drought is effectively over, though one of the fallouts from sustained dry conditions are recognizable in various counties throughout California. Tree mortality, resulting from unprecedented drought and subsequent bark beetle infestations, has stripped California forests of more than 100 million trees.
The mortality data is based on the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Detection Survey flown across all forested lands of the state each year. The Forest Service has already treated 30,000 acres of dead trees, with more to come.
The estimated number of dead trees in California from 2010 to 2016 … continue reading »
With leftovers from Thanksgiving officially moving into the “when in doubt, throw it out” category, Christmas is now just 24 days away. The craze of Black Friday and Cyber Monday typically signify that shopping season is upon us.
Shopping for presents, stringing lights on the house and decorating will all consume many of the days until Christmas. But there’s one tradition that may need to be adjusted this year.
Family trips to the Christmas tree farm are also among those timeless staples of the holiday season. Now, some families may be forced to buy artificial trees instead.
Due to the ongoing six-year drought in California, a lack of rain and snow has slowed the growth of Christmas trees, even stunting typical 8-foot trees down to 6 feet.
Dry … continue reading »
As drought conditions extend into a sixth year in California, so does extreme concern about tree mortality across the state. While the United States Forest Service says it is “very close” to releasing a new survey on the total number of dead trees, the previous count was already at 66 million.
The effects associated with a six-year drought and subsequent tree mortality remains a long-term issue. Affected counties continue to work collaboratively with state and federal agencies and utilities to assess the damage and devise a viable plan to remove dead trees.
In the midst of another busy fire season, Cal FIRE noted that an additional 300 fires were reported since October, with 30 of those within the past week. Southern California is still in its … continue reading »
Imagine this situation — the first time you visit New York City it just happens to be on 9/11. The second time you visit is during Hurricane Sandy, and the third time, would you even go back? The man we’re going to talk to today experienced that string of disasters and suddenly found himself leading the initial emergency response to those historical events. He’s a UC Davis alum and 5th generation San Franciscan. In this episode Bob Fenton, Regional Administrator for FEMA in Nor Cal, talks about what motivated him (and still does) to make emergency management his career, California’s tree mortality problems, how air space closures affected responders own efforts, and what it took to bring order to chaos from a leadership perspective. Mr. Fenton also gets candid about how strong state leadership in Mississippi, and the converse of that in Louisiana, affected the success of the day to day missions after Hurricane Katrina.
Robert J. Fenton, Jr. was appointed Regional Administrator for FEMA Region IX in July 2015. Since joining FEMA in 1996, Mr. Fenton has played a significant role in numerous large-scale response and recovery operations in the U.S. and has responded to more than 50 Federal disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the four Florida Hurricanes of 2004, the Southern California Wildfires of 2003 and 2007, the Super Typhoon Pongsona in Guam, and the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
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When conditions are ripe, California can become a raging inferno. That’s exactly what happened 31 years ago this month, and is eerily similar to what is occurring currently in the central and southern parts of the state.
Fires burning in seven different counties – San Diego, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Ventura – accounted for three deaths and injured 470 in 1985. Among the injured were 346 firefighters.
The fires consumed more than 357,000 acres, destroyed 215 homes and damaged 131 homes and businesses and 71 miscellaneous structures and vehicles.
The Normal Heights Fire in the Mission Valley canyons of San Diego was fueled by heavy brush and strong winds. Burning 300 acres, destroying 76 houses and damaging 57 others, the reported damage was $9 million.
Approximately 400 firefighters – including 40 off … continue reading »
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, as detailed by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), with an estimated 29 million tree deaths in California.
Earlier this week, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) joined multiple agencies, including Cal Fire and PG&E, to initiate a tree removal project near Sonora in Tuolumne County.
“It takes a lot of time to remove trees and you can see how dangerous these trees are,” said Cal OES Assistant Director of Recovery Charles Rabamad, who toured the project on June 9 in the small town of Twain Harte. “Obviously the collaborative effort is great … continue reading »