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#288360 - 03/10/18 01:05 AM Lessons from the North Bay Fires
Michael2 Offline
Stranger

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 23
KQED California Report: Lessons from the North Bay Fires

The California Report

Confusion, Poor Communication as North Bay Fires Broke Out

KQED has conducted a five-month investigation into what caused the muddled communications and delayed evacuations during the North Bay wildfires. KQED reporters recreated what happened as the fires started on Oct. 8, by listening to thousands of 911 calls, and interviewing dozens of first responders, residents and state officials. This week, we’re dedicating the entire California Report Magazine to the results of our investigation.

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#288361 - 03/10/18 04:35 AM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: Michael2]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6545
Loc: southern Cal
This will be an interesting thread.


the report places a lot of emphasis on the lack of timely evacuation orders by authorities. Actually, you don't need authorization in order to flee from a fire, although notification certainly helps.

The hill close to my home has burned three times in the thirty years I have been in my home. Each time I was loaded and ready to go, not evacuating by the thinnest of margins, until last December's Thomas fire when we did pull the plug in response to a mandatory notice.

I think that authorities in our community, at least, learned from the devastating fires of last fall in the North Bay. There was prompt response to our city by Los Angeles units, who were the first responders I saw in my neighborhood, quite early in the event. I would say that the response was quite decent, although there is only so much that can be accomplished with 40+ mph winds in California chaparral.

There are important lessons to be learned from thoughtful analysis of events like this one. "Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past re doomed to repeat them." How true!
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#288559 - 03/30/18 03:34 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: Michael2]
WesleyH Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 82
Loc: OKLAHOMA
Never ceases to amaze me. Seems every year there is a major fire in the Los Angeles area, hundreds of homes destroyed. Yet, most of the residents fail to get the idea that maybe nature is telling them, "THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO BUILD" and the rebuild again.

It seems that for California, safety of residents is a secondary consideration to tax money from property owners. Such areas should be No build areas.

Just a thought. . .

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#288566 - 03/30/18 07:47 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: WesleyH]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6545
Loc: southern Cal
Well, the population of Los Angeles is around 15 million and of greater Southern California somewhere around 30 million, I believe, so that is a lot of homes, and yes, some do get threatened by fire from time to time.

I agree with you about the problems of building in the urban - wild lands interface. You are definitely subject to periodic wild fires, most of which are human caused. We do need to do a better job with power lines and other infrastructure.

SoCal does not experience tornadoes or hurricanes. I believe those cause structural damage from time to time. Every locality has its problems and situations. Learn them and adapt.
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#288567 - 03/30/18 07:57 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: Michael2]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2930
Loc: USA
I would like to see the end of subsidized homeowners insurance, such as the National Flood Insurance Program. Most, if not all mortgage lenders in the USA require a homeowners insurance policy. I'm happy for people to build wherever they like, as long as they are assuming (by paying to build it themselves) or transferring (by buying insurance) the risk.

When insurance is subsidized and you transfer the risk without paying full price, it distorts the risk calculation and leads to homes being built in places that maybe they shouldn't be.

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#288571 - 03/30/18 08:37 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: Michael2]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4901
Loc: SOCAL
Regarding “building in the urban - wild lands interface” - interstitial wilderness runs through suburban areas throughout SOCAL; there is no single interface.

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#288573 - 03/30/18 08:51 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: hikermor]
WesleyH Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 82
Loc: OKLAHOMA
Excellent points all Hikemor.

Interesting you mentioned the electrical infrastructure. I had Fox news on in the background earlier and caught a piece about downed and arcing power lines being responsible for many of the fires. It also pointed out that such arcing lines stressed upstream transformers and circuits, which then failed causing even more fires.

The question was posited, why can't the power in the area be shut down. . Interesting point. More likely, out the lines underground.

But I very strongly agree with ChaosMagnet above that homeowners insurance should NOT be subsidized by the government in such areas. If it burns such owners in high risk areas should be on their own. Granted the area is beautiful, BUT why should the rest of society shoulder the cost?


Edited by WesleyH (03/30/18 08:52 PM)

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#288575 - 03/31/18 02:14 AM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: WesleyH]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6545
Loc: southern Cal
My understanding is that our regional power supplier, PG&E, is adopting the practice of shutting down power lines when high winds are predicted. The results of the investigation of the Thomas fire, our most recent holocaust, have not been finalized, although lawsuits against PG&E are already being filed. A lot of us will be surprised if down power lines are not the cause of this fire...
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#288586 - 04/01/18 04:48 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: WesleyH]
drahthaar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 108
You're correct that a number of the North Bay fires destroyed houses that are built in somewhat remote areas, but some of the fires - such as Coffee Park - destroyed entire suburban neighborhoods that were virtually surrounded by developed areas.

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#288587 - 04/01/18 04:53 PM Re: Lessons from the North Bay Fires [Re: WesleyH]
drahthaar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 108
Originally Posted By: WesleyH


The question was posited, why can't the power in the area be shut down. . Interesting point. More likely, out the lines underground.


The PG&E power lines were actually designed to be repowered (by use of devices known as re-closers) after the lost power. So a power line would be knocked down or damaged and instead of sitting down because of the interruption, they were designed to power back up again automatically.

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