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    Associated Press FORESTHILL, Calif. — California temporarily banned insurance companies Thursday from dropping customers in areas affected by recent wildfires, a day after evacuation orders were lifted for residents near a 2-week-old blaze that’s become the largest in the state so far this year. Several days of sporadic rain helped firefighters reach 60% containment on the Mosquito Fire in Sierra foothills about 110 miles northeast of San Francisco. At least 78 homes and other structures have been destroyed since flames broke out Sept. 6 and charred forestland across Placer and El Dorado counties. Sheriff’s officials in both counties announced Wednesday that they were lifting the last of the evacuation orders that during the fire’s height kept some 11,000 people out of their homes. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara invoked a law Thursday aimed at protecting homeowners in the wildfire-plagued state who say they are being pushed out of the commercial insurance market. Lara ordered insurance companies to preserve residential insurance for one year for Californians who live near one of several major wildfires that have burned across the state in...
    After the driest January, February and March in Northern California’s recorded history back to 1849, rains this past week finally brought some relief — and real benefits — across the Bay Area and other parts of the state. But the wet weather was kind of like receiving wrinkle cream for your birthday, experts said Friday. Better than nothing. But not enough to celebrate. Simply put, 2 to 3 inches of rain fell in the Santa Cruz Mountains, North Bay Hills and Big Sur over the past week. The Sierra Nevada received 1 to 3 feet of snow over the past week, depending on the location, the most since December. That desperately needed moisture will delay fire season, experts say. It clears the air, boosts flows in streams for fish and wildlife, charges up the spring wildflower season and will reduce water consumption somewhat because people turn off lawn sprinklers when it is raining. But California was heading into the third summer in a row of severe drought before the rain. And a few April showers — likely the last hydrologic hurrah...
    (CNN)President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to travel to Colorado on Friday to meet with families who were affected by a recent massive wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes and thousands of acres. The President will deliver a speech on his administration's response to recent wildfires while in Louisville, Colorado, the White House says. The Bidens will also tour a neighborhood in the area affected by the Marshall Fire. Biden has made federal funding available to assist state and local recovery efforts, which can also include grants for temporary housing and home repairs as well as low-cost loans to covered uninsured losses. The President spoke with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, last Friday about providing federal support. The fast-spreading fire charred more than 6,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 homes, authorities say. Several inches of snow helped put out the flames but also knocked out power for many. Two people remain missing, and Boulder County investigators have found partial human remains. An investigation into how the fire started remains ongoing, the sheriff's office said earlier...
    If it seems like wildfires across the state are only growing bigger and more devastating in recent years, statistics provided by Cal Fire appear to confirm it.More than 5.5 million acres have burned on state and federal lands in California since the start of 2020. That's more than the previous six years combined.While the reasons for this are complicated-including population growth and forest management-scientists say climate change is certainly playing a big role."The trend is a real trend," said Michael Goss, a postdoctoral scholar in earth systems at Stanford University. "We can say pretty confidently that climate changes is impacting these variables."In a recent study, Goss measured what is known as the fire weather index in every season since the late 1970s, and said the index has jumped by about 20% over the past 40 years. The fire weather index is a indicator that takes into account factors like temperature and precipitation."Looking into the future we're going to need to consider that this kind of event is going to become more and more frequent."Another key indicator for fire weather conditions...
    President Biden will be in California today to survey wildfire damage and campaign for Governor Newsom in the recall election.In Sacramento County, the president will receive a briefing from Cal OES on the local, state, and federal response to recent wildfires. After that, the president will survey damage from the Caldor Fire by taking an aerial tour of hard-hit communities in El Dorado County.EXPLAINER: What are some key decisions in fighting wildfires?Later today, the president will deliver remarks on his administration's response to recent wildfires, and the investments he is proposing in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda.The president is expected to promote his administration's use of the Defense Production Act to aid in wildfire preparedness. The administration activated the wartime provision in early August to boost the supply of fire hoses for the U.S. Forest Service, by helping to ease supply chain issues affecting the agency's primary firehose supplier. It marks the second use of the wartime law, after the president used it to boost vaccine supplies, and the administration had not previously announced it publicly.RELATED:...
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) –The incoming weather system bringing cooling temperatures to the Bay Area has fire officials on edge over the threat of lightning strikes and looking to avoid a repeat of recent history. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay and East Bay mountains, hills and valleys starting Thursday evening. The main concern is lightning strikes that could spark additional wildfires in extremely dry vegetation. The warning was an upgrade from a previous Fire Weather Watch. READ MORE: Bay Area Recall Supporters Cite French Laundry Dinner In Voting Yes The Red Flag Warning will be in effect from 5 p.m. Thursday through 11 a.m. Friday. RED FLAG WARNING for North Bay Mts and Valleys & East Bay Mts/Hills and Valleys from 5pm today to 11am Friday. Subtropical moisture combined with instability from upper level low could produce isolated to scattered t-storms & gusty winds. Dry lightning is a big concern. @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/Cp6ChQ6a3R — Mary Lee (@MaryKPIX) September 9, 2021 KPIX 5 Weather Center: Current Conditions, Maps, Forecasts For Your Area...
    LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Spain and Portugal are bracing for temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in coming days, as a mass of hot, dry air from Africa pushes north into the Iberian peninsula. Portugal’s prime minister warned Wednesday that the hot weather increases the threat of wildfires, which in 2017 killed more than 100 people in his country. Spain’s weather service forecast a heat wave through Monday and said temperatures could surpass 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. A recent heat wave across southern Europe that was fed by hot air from North Africa contributed to massive wildfires breaking out in Turkey, Greece, Algeria and elsewhere in the Mediterranean region. “The maximum and minimum temperatures will reach levels far above the normal for this time of the year,” Spain’s weather service, AEMET, said in a “special weather warning.” Such peaks of temperature are not unheard of in Spain and Portugal during the summer months. Even so, climate scientists say there is little doubt climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural...
    SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — Following some of the worst wildfires in state history, Cal Fire is warning that burn scars in and around the Bay Area are not immune to burning once again this summer, in what is expected to be a long and dangerous wildfire season. “We did not create moonscape with all of these fires. There is a lot of pockets of vegetation that just didn’t burn because when you have such large-scale, it almost makes a mosaic,” Cal Fire Deputy Chief Mike Marcucci told KPIX 5. READ MORE: Driver Shot Along Interstate Highway 880 in San Jose “Some of the area was burned to mineral soil, others weren’t even really touched,” he explained. Deputy Chief Marcucci said lower-than-average winter rainfall has transformed Northern California into a tinderbox. “We’re one spark away from another disastrous fire,” he said. Statewide, Marcucci said Cal Fire has already responded to more than 2,000 fires, roughly double the amount of fire activity during the same time last year. READ MORE: Santa Clara Wins NCAA Womens Soccer Championship, Topping FSU In Penalty...
    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP/CBS13) — Wildfire smoke accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years as warming temperatures fueled more destructive blazes, according to a study released Monday. Even as pollution emissions declined from other sources like vehicle exhaust and power plants, the amount from fires increased sharply, said researchers at Stanford University and the University of California, San Diego. The findings underscore the growing public health threat posed by climate change as it contributes to catastrophic wildfires such as those that charred huge areas of California and the Pacific Northwest in 2020. Nationwide, wildfires were the source of up to 25% of small particle pollution in some years, the researchers said. “From a climate perspective, wildfires should be the first things on our minds for many of us in the U.S.,” said Marshall Burke, an associate professor of earth system science at Stanford and lead author of the study. “Most people do not see sea-level rise. Most people do not ever see hurricanes. Many, many people will see wildfire...
    (CBS / AP) — Wildfire smoke accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years as warming temperatures fueled more destructive blazes, according to a study released Monday. Even as pollution emissions declined from other sources including vehicle exhaust and power plants, the amount from fires increased sharply, said researchers at Stanford University and the University of California, San Diego. The findings underscore the growing public health threat posed by climate change as it contributes to catastrophic wildfires such as those that charred huge areas of California and the Pacific Northwest in 2020. Last year’s fires, which included some of the largest wildfires in California history, burned more than 2 million acres in Northern California. The fires also contributed to an eerie blood orange sky above the Bay Area one day in September. Under darkened skies from wildfire smoke, a waiter carries a tray of Irish Coffee to people having lunch at the Buena Vista Cafe Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in San Francisco. People from San Francisco to Seattle woke...
    President Trump has reversed his rejection of wildfire aid to California following pressure from the state’s GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy “has just informed me that the President has committed to reverse FEMA’s decision to deny the request for a federal disaster declaration for the recent fires,” said California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock in a tweet. “The Presidential Disaster Declaration is imminent and help is on the way,” added McClintock, who has fires burning in his northern California district. Trump earlier this week rejected a request made by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, late last month to declare a disaster declaration for six wildfires in the state. Doing so would allow the federal government to take on some of the cost burden for cleaning up and rebuilding after the wildfires. Five of California’s six largest wildfires have occurred this year, and more than 4 million acres in the state have burned. The White House granted a request from Newsom in August for two wildfires caused by lightning strikes, but California state officials said on Thursday...
    PG&E’s equipment might have caused a fatal and destructive recent wildfire in Shasta County, and state investigators have confiscated some of the company’s gear in connection with the fire, the utility has told California regulators. The blaze, known as the Zogg Fire, broke out on Sept. 27 near the Shasta County town of Igo, which is west of Redding. The Shasta County wildfire began in the vicinity of Zogg Mine Road and Jenny Bird Lane. “A PG&E SmartMeter and a line recloser serving that area reported alarms and other activity between approximately 2:40 p.m. and 3:06 p.m” on Sept. 27, PG&E stated in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. PG&E customers in the area where the Zogg Fire broke out are served by a distribution line known as the Girvan 1101 12 kV circuit. The utility has reported the incident to the state Public Utilities Commission, PG&E stated in its SEC filing. PG&E is currently uncertain of the causes of the activity on the Girvan 1101 circuit or the locations of these causes. The state Department of...
    An inmate who's done time at Denver's Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center and the Denver County Jail in recent months contends that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc at the facilities. He describes being essentially placed in solitary confinement for nearly three weeks after being exposed to another detainee with the disease, frequent moves from pod to pod, low-level criminals being housed with the most dangerous accused felons as authorities scramble for quarantine spaces, and guards who tend to only don facial coverings to shut up men in custody screaming at them to mask up. "There's no way to avoid it once it gets in here," the inmate says of the virus. "It's so close in here that it'll spread like wildfire. It's just a matter of time." Daria Serna, a spokesperson for the Denver Sheriff Department, which is in charge of the jails, declines to address the specific claims of the inmate because we're not identifying him (he says he's concerned about possible retribution).  But via email, she paints a very different picture of life inside the institutions.Related Stories COVID-19: First Denver...
    PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area's record-breaking streak of poor air quality could cost thousands of lives, according to a new calculation by Stanford researchers.Marshall Burke, an associate professor of earth system science at the university, looked at extensive research on the effects of wildfire pollutants in the air in connection to increase deaths in the elderly population. Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 10, he predicts at least 1,200 additional deaths and 4,800 ER visits in California due to the wildfire smoke."So, we're not measuring fatality rates in real-time, we're saying we know how much worse the air quality got, we know based on 20 years of Medicare data if you change the air quality that much, how many more deaths do you get, and so it's a combination of those two numbers," said Burke.VIDEO: Breathing Bay Area air compares to smoking '8 cigarettes,' health expert saysEMBED More News Videos All of this smoke in the Bay Area is having an effect on our health so much so that one doctor says it's like smoking half a pack...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Why are California wildfires so explosive in recent years and how is climate change adding to the problem?ABC7's Kristen Sze talked with Crystal Kolden, Assistant Professor of Fire Science at UC Merced, on "Getting Answers" Friday and she explained.RELATED: August Complex Fire now the largest in recent California history -- see list of top 10"Increases in heat, longer droughts, and delay of rains are contributing to larger more explosive fires" Kolden said. "The challenge with climate change is things pretty slowly change."So it will take years before we see positive results. California does not do a lot of prescribed fires due to policies, so that provides kindling for wildfires.She says there are many things people can do today to help reduce massive fires -- such as reduce fuel use, trim trees and shrubs around your house and become a 'Firewise community," which helps communities and neighborhoods prepare for fires.App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new windowRELATED STORIES & VIDEOS: Track wildfires across Bay Area with this...
    Two gender reveal parties, one causing a cringe-worthy injury and another involving the tallest building in the world, have gone viral as a similar affair has been blamed for a California wildfire. The popularity of the videos shows the different methods expectant parents are using to provide an exciting and "Instagramable" or "YouTubeable" experience for their guests and followers. At a party in Massachusetts an expectant father fired an explosive canister of blue powder into his crotch -- on accident --  and a pair of influencers in Dubai lit-up the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, to show that they are having a boy. “I am trying my best to give content that no one has ever seen before,” Asala Marwah a YouTube influencer, who posts videos under as the "Anasala Family," says to the camera at one point. The over-the-top nature of some gender reveals have been put into focus because the El Dorado fire in California was sparked by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device for a gender reveal party. The fire was only 7% contained as of Tuesday. It's at least the...
    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has decided against prosecuting a person suspected of flying a drone illegally into firefighters’ airspace during a recent wildfire near Tucson. That’s because the FAA couldn’t prove who was the pilot. The decision illustrates the difficulties in proving identities of those who remotely operate unmanned drones. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Forest Service officials say the presence of at least two drones in the Pusch Ridge area forced firefighters to suspend aerial operations at a crucial stage in the Bighorn Fire in early June on at least two occasions. Authorities say those suspensions slowed the service’s ability to battle the blaze just as it was getting underway. The fire started on less than half a square mile (less than a square kilometer) on June 5 but spread to nearly 4 square miles (over 10 square kilomters) by June 8 after two drone incursions. The blaze burned 187.5 square miles (485.6 square kilometers) in the Catalina Mountains by the time the Forest Service declared it fully contained on July 23. Copyright 2020...
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