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California Fires

hey hey
to all our posters from the bay area and northern parts, be careful and stay safe with all the fires and smoke. woke up to the fire and black smoke at carquinez brigde. roads and hiways shut down, traffic everywhere, trying to get out, the strong winds, no electricity for thousands and thousands. i'm staying indoors. it's a sad and scary situation, when they say LEAVE LEAVE.
god bless all of you
aloha

Posted by
1146 posts

Hi, Princess Great to see you yesterday! Power went out here over an hour ago, not a planned outage but due to an issue probably caused by the winds. According to their outage phone line, they are aware of the outage but are busy with other issues and we should plan for an extended outage.

Posted by
1418 posts

hey hey carol and tony
it was a good visit yesterday. my electricity is still on. was planning to go out but it's no way now. couple friends invited me to their place, one in oakland & one in concord, if worse comes to worse i will.
got my necessities, food, "liquids" tv, computer and rooting for our bay area teams playing and also all the workers helping us here in california.
aloha

Posted by
5280 posts

Before you pack up for Oakland, make sure your friends have power! Walked through a nearby area today and restaurants / stores were closed.

Posted by
1418 posts

hey hey laura b
i'm staying put. i have electricity food "liquids" tv etc. my friend in oakland has electricity, he's behind highland hospital. i'm near county hospital here in martinez which people say i'm on the grid for power, hiway 4 a mess, hiway 680 disasterous, alhambra avenue shut down both ways, hiway 242 has the lafayette fire. have no clue where i would drive to because everybody else is trying to evacuate. thanks for the warning.
aloha

Posted by
2481 posts

Stay safe. We had various family members coming out to a wine event here that none of us could get to so we are hunkering down with some “liquids” at home too.

Seriously if anyone needs to leave the BA and needs a place to stay, freeways permitting, we have room. Send us a PM.

Posted by
1826 posts

Wow what a great website showing care and concerns for people we haven't met and the offer of a place to stay by Mona was wonderful !!

Posted by
1414 posts

Heavy smoke here, but power has been on all day. I know at least one of our group members is in the planned outage zone and was going to stay with family. There have been fires popping up here and there within a few miles, but they were quickly put out and teensy compared to the big ones.

I've got a "just in case" bag packed and a couple of portable cellphone chargers with lots of batteries.

Posted by
7576 posts

I hope everyone stays safe. We had a freeway closure on I-5 due to a fire. Thankfully my city has its own electric company, as does Sacramento County, so we haven't lost electricity. Be careful out there.

Hey Mona, I'm out of liquids. Can I come over? 😀

Posted by
2481 posts

Sure Andrea. We devoted this past week to running around to all but one of our wineries and picking up our fall shipments that have been waiting for us since we got back from our trip. See, I brought this conversation back to travel 😀

Posted by
5392 posts

Goodness. Thinking of you all who are affected. This stuff is so scary.

Posted by
233 posts

Lost power for 66 hours, but it's back! I'd rather lose power than experience the air quality we suffered through last year, which is still possible. Thanks for posting.

Posted by
1418 posts

hey hey barbar
so happy to hear you have power. i haven't lost power yet, but anything could happen.
god bless to everyone in the bay area and north. it is a sad situation, reminds me of the volcano eruption on the big island where i'm from. want everyone to be safe, walked out of my place yesterday and the smoke smell in the air was there. stay safe out there
aloha

Posted by
7119 posts

ALL of Marin County had power cut off on Saturday. Ours just came back on at 4 pm today (tuesday). My heart goes out to anyone in the fire zone (including our Ginna and David - who are safe but had to evacuate) and to all who’ve lost their homes. My experience was nothing compared to that, but coming home (very sick) from 6 wks in Europe late Thursday night to the news that all of Marin would be cut off on Saturday for many days was very discombobulating. Being cut off for 3 days with no electricity, no internet, no cell service, no way to make a phone call, even to 911, was very difficult.
Most all stores closed, very few gas stations open - and no way to know which ones, all stop-lights out everywhere in Marin. It was very eerie.
It’s a wake-up call to be ready if and when the big earthquake happens.

But again, my heart goes out to those that experienced much worse.

My sister lost her house in Paradise last year and my other sister lost her house in the Oakland fire in ‘91. It is hell.

PS - Very nice of you Mona!

Posted by
2481 posts

Susan very glad to hear that you are safe and now have electricity. I hope you’re feeling better each day too.

Posted by
2700 posts

Currently working in far Northern California and a few comments.

The power cuts can affect people 200 miles from the fires, and in areas not currently dry enough to be under fire threat warning. As you can imagine, the power cuts are quite disruptive. It means businesses are closing continually, hotels are turning off their elevators (so no one is unexpectedly trapped), not serving breakfast because they can’t keep milk and eggs cold, having to hand out flashlights to each guest “just in case.” Cities haven’t bothered to reset traffic lights between power cuts so they are flashing red and tying up traffic. All the way up US 101 from Ukiah to Eureka gas stations were either closed since sold out or had long queues due to people filling containers for fueling generators. I’m trying not to judge but I hope that they are making plans so that in the future there is a less disruptive system in place for those outside the danger areas.

Posted by
1859 posts

Currently getting pretty intense down here in So Cal too, thankfully we did not have to endure any power outages, but the significant wind event today and into tomorrow is shaping up to look quite nasty in west Los Angeles.

Posted by
2481 posts

Tom I’ll add a little perspective to the “out of the immediate fire zone”. We are an hour west of the Kincade Fire but on Sunday we had fires quickly pop up all around us out here in the valley near Sacramento because of other sources of sparks and wind gusts over 60mph that lasted for more than 24h.

Our kids were coming out from the city but quickly realized that with these sustained and gusty winds it wasn’t safe. Sure enough about an hour before the time they would have headed out the two fires popped on both sides of a bridge they needed to cross. When there is any dry vegetation and such strong winds fires can happen quickly.

I’m not defending PG&Es decision and I apologize if any of our California posters work for them but I think they are grasping for straws because of years of poor maintenance. I think something needs to change with northern California’s power delivery system and maybe provider.

Posted by
7119 posts

I’ll say it... PG&E has been criminally negligent. Pocketing profits for 10-20 yrs instead of maintaining their equipment.

NPR today reported that PG&E has never used “tree wire” which is insulated wire, instead, they’ve always used live, bare, uninsulated electrical wire because it’s cheaper.

The anger of most everyone in Marin/Sonoma is because this situation did not need to happen. The many fires started by PG&E and lives lost should not have happened, San Bruno should not have blown up, had PG&E done the right thing all along.

Posted by
5484 posts

I think something needs to change with northern California’s power delivery system and maybe provider.

Yes, but the unanswered question is who pays. An interesting perspective is the Energry Insitute at Hass (Univeristy of California, Berkeley) paper:
https://energyathaas.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/what-wildfire-costs-will-depend-on-how-we-pay/

What Wildfire Costs Will Depend on How We Pay

Before digging into the details of how these wildfire costs should be
recovered, it’s important to be clear about what costs we’re talking
about. Wildfire costs passed through to electricity ratepayers fall
into two main categories.

Let’s call the first “climate change adaptation costs”. In a hotter
and drier California, running electric power lines through parched
forests is an increasingly risky business. To adapt, we need to up our
fire prevention game. Regulated electric utilities are now required to
develop mitigation plans (e.g. tree trimming, new weather stations,
disaster response services) that will cost several billions of dollars
to implement. Utilities will recover these costs in higher
electricity rates.
We’re already starting to see these cost
increases in rate cases.

The second cost category is potentially much larger. Call these damage
compensation costs. In California, utilities are on the hook for any
damage caused by fires started by their equipment, even if the
equipment was operated responsibly. If the utility is not at fault,
these costs can be passed on to electricity consumers. The idea that
the utility should take on all damage liability, guilty or not, has
been controversial. One rationalization is that inverse condemnation
serves to “socialize the burden” of costs “that should be assumed by
society”.

And the climate change irony:

California’s climate change mitigation strategy hinges on millions of
households trading their gas-fueled cars/appliances for
electric-fueled alternatives. Fuel prices matter when consumers choose
their cars and appliances. If electricity prices are sky high, who’s
going to choose to electrify?

Posted by
7119 posts

As NPR reported today, climate change is not the issue. PG&E’s criminality is the issue.

Posted by
1843 posts

As a current long time Colorado 'forest' resident, I have been evacuated because of threatening forest fires a few times but fortunately only for several hours each time. I can imagine how frightening and truly awful it is for all of you all over the state. I was born in the Bay Area and spent many, many years with my grandparents in Burlingame. My heart aches for you and if there is anything any of us can do for you, please post here. Please know my/our thoughts are with you all, north and south.

Posted by
1859 posts

The fire was deemed an accidental start, caused by a tree branch that broke off and subsequently landed in nearby powerlines during high wind conditions.

^The official cause of the Getty Fire (and many others)^ what I don't understand is why there are all these external power-lines strung all over California, why can't they be underground like in the majority of Europe or other first world countries. I honestly thought they were telegraph wires (like the ones you see in westerns) when I first moved out to LA.

PS: and don't get me started on the medieval condition of the roads in California... :-(

Posted by
6027 posts

why can't they be underground like in the majority of Europe or other first world countries.

$$, my friend. Cost of stringing above ground power lines: "$285,000 per mile as opposed to $1.5 million per mile for underground". Yeah, America's infrastructure is in a bad way compared to other developed countries. It all boils down to people here not wanting to pay for what things cost. Taxes are a dirty word in the US.

Posted by
2700 posts

Some reading about wires, 10-15 times more expensive to put underground.

https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe/Corporate/Corporate%20PDFs/OverheadVsUnderground_FactSheet.pdf

According to Bloomberg, 41% of European high voltage lines are underground, 18% of PG&E’s are.

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-03-05/why-europe-pays-less-than-u-s-to-put-power-lines-underground

Note that local distribution lines running to houses aren’t starting many fires. Mine are underground.

Posted by
30929 posts

"PG&E’s criminality is the issue."

Wasn't PG&E the firm that was involved in the Hexavalent Chromium scandal that was brought to light by Erin Brokovich? Perhaps they'll also face a big fine in this case?

Posted by
572 posts

Glad to hear you are all safe! On Monday at 3 am, my mobile awakened me (reverse 911) with the alert from LA Fire Department: “Prepare to evacuate from Getty fire moving West”

Needless to say years of packing skills came in handy. As time went on and the wind shifted a bit, my place was not included in the main evacuation zone (by a few blocks). But the smoke was significant, and we monitored the wind direction closely.

Mona, the ember casts are really scary, and unpredictable, totally understand your experience.
The impact of the N CA power cuts has not been adequately portrayed by the media down here, empathize so much with all of you.