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Old 10-12-2017, 01:47 AM   #26 (permalink)
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My tweet is a bit of a threaded rant, and I left it open ended just in case I felt like bitching him out some more.
Gonna be a long thread, then.

We had smoke in the Monterey Bay area today, and all across the north end of the Salinas Valley. I didn't do a straight line measurement but Salinas to Santa Rosa on Hwy 101 is 157 miles, so it's got to be around 120-130 miles. There wasn't a lot, but it was getting thicker before sundown.

It's just so hard to believe. We're used to having fires just roar on in back country, like the Soberanes Fire: steep rugged terrain and no roads unpaved or otherwise. But in Marin County? How could it get so bad? OK, I know the answer and it's a lot of brush thanks to our drought-buster winter combined with the fact it's bone dry (as is normal for early fall). Part of it is the unusual wind patterns and more ( I think) is that three fairly widely separated fires all started between 10:00 PM and Midnight the same night.

Yeah, I think that seems suspicious, too. The fire people aren't (publicly) speculating now, but when they finally get the emergency under control the investigations will start. That's standard; every fire gets investigated.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:41 AM   #27 (permalink)
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The smoke is pretty heavy in San Bruno this morning. I'm really getting worried about the town of Napa....

Meanwhile I have read some speculation (I'd link if I could remember where I read it) that PG&E line failures may have been a trigger point.

I still remember the gas explosion about a mile or so from our house, and the night spent sitting by the TV waiting to see if we were going to need to evacuate...
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:32 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Oh my God! This is just... Oh my God!

I'm at the tail end of moving from our old apartment to a new one across town, and I've been literally unplugged all weekend until last night - no TV, no internet, no cell phones (can't afford to keep them on). So I hadn't heard about what's been going on up north of us until now. My first indication bad things were happening was when our wind shifted from the northwest last night, and our air filled with smoke - and I live about five hours from the Bay Area. There was smoke and soot in our air, and the evening sky was post-apocalyptic.

Oh my God, I have never heard of such devastation from a California wildfire before. Even the one that burned San Diego in 2007 wasn't this devastating! I am so sorry for all the people who lost everything.

This is just incomprehensible to me.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:44 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I now have three friends and their families in the area who are evacuated.

Evacuated. THREE!

I don't think I've EVER known ANYONE who was evacuated from anywhere.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:08 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Katheryne Helendale View Post
Oh my God! This is just... Oh my God!

I'm at the tail end of moving from our old apartment to a new one across town, and I've been literally unplugged all weekend until last night - no TV, no internet, no cell phones (can't afford to keep them on). So I hadn't heard about what's been going on up north of us until now. My first indication bad things were happening was when our wind shifted from the northwest last night, and our air filled with smoke - and I live about five hours from the Bay Area. There was smoke and soot in our air, and the evening sky was post-apocalyptic.

Oh my God, I have never heard of such devastation from a California wildfire before. Even the one that burned San Diego in 2007 wasn't this devastating! I am so sorry for all the people who lost everything.

This is just incomprehensible to me.

You aren't kidding about post apocalyptic. I went outside at about 3pm and the shadows on the ground were orange. Orange. The sun was almost dim enough to look at directly. The sky in the East Bay, roughly 60 miles away from the nearest fire as the crow flies, was Bronxelf's least favorite color.

It's a bit better today, though the air still smells like a giant barbecue, and you can still see the air around you.

The bad news? The reason the air seems a little less choky today is because of a rather brisk wind. The Tubbs fire, which is the biggest fire up north, is currently ten percent contained, but with this wind, it won't be for long.

Petaluma is now under evacuation watch. It could become mandatory soon.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:10 PM   #31 (permalink)
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In fact, a number of school districts have closed schools in the area, due to poor air quality. Even in Palo Alto, where I work, several kids stayed home over the last couple of days, because of bad air quality. Seriously, you can *see* billows of smoky air wafting around.

Edit to add: This article will give you an idea of how bad this is, if you haven't already figured it out.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/glimmer-of-...ttle-overnight
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:39 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:50 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Sears Point Raceway camping grounds are also housing a lot of folks.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:17 PM   #34 (permalink)
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This is kind of surreal.

That's a postman delivering mail in Santa Rosa. So folks coming back to the burned out husk of their homes will arrive to mailboxes full of 20% off coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:50 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Neither snow nor rain nor the fact that the house isn't even freaking there anymore, etc
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:32 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Neither snow nor rain nor the fact that the house isn't even freaking there anymore, etc
As long as there's a mailbox, they'll deliver.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:39 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Unlike FedEx, where even if there's a house with a large address visible, they'll drive by it and claim they delivered the package, even though they haven't.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:57 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Unlike FedEx, where even if there's a house with a large address visible, they'll drive by it and claim they delivered the package, even though they haven't.
Or UPS, who will drive by it and later claim they knocked but nobody was home, even though you've been waiting all day specifically for this delivery to the point where you actually jumped and opened the door every time you thought you heard a vehicle door.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:16 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I just took a good look at that burned-out car the mail truck passes at the beginning of the video. I'm pretty sure that's a Townsman. A '56 Chevy.
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:57 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
I just took a good look at that burned-out car the mail truck passes at the beginning of the video. I'm pretty sure that's a Townsman. A '56 Chevy.
Not anymore.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:59 PM   #41 (permalink)
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PG&E power lines linked to Wine Country fires

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In all, according to a review of emergency radio traffic by the Bay Area News Group, Sonoma County dispatchers sent out fire crews to at least 10 different locations across the county over a 90-minute period starting at 9:22 pm to respond to 911 calls and other reports of sparking wires and problems with the county’s electrical system amid high winds.

State fire officials said Tuesday that they are still investigating the cause of the blazes, which as of late Tuesday had killed 17 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Sonoma, Napa and other Northern California counties.

But the reports of the power equipment failures began to turn the spotlight on PG&E, the giant San Francisco-based utility, raising questions about how well it maintained its equipment in the area and whether it adequately cut back trees from power lines to reduce fire risk — as required by state law.
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Old 10-14-2017, 12:32 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Yeah, PG&E has been in trouble for a lot of stuff, and this latest kerfuffle may end them.

In other news, here's a really cool shot from CALFire.

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Old 10-14-2017, 12:33 PM   #43 (permalink)
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By the way, the biggest fire is 44% contained, according to CALFire's Facebook page.
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Old 10-14-2017, 12:40 PM   #44 (permalink)
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BTW, how did PG&E squirm out of the San Bruno explosion a few years back? Ah, here we go:

PG&E gets maximum sentence for San Bruno crimes

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A federal judge Thursday sentenced PG&E for crimes linked to the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion, imposing the maximum fine of $3 million and branding the utility as a convicted felon.

The sentencing for PG&E’s conviction on six criminal charges closes a devastating chapter in American corporate history, more than six years after a PG&E natural gas pipeline ruptured and unleashed a fireball that killed eight and destroyed a quiet residential neighborhood.
The case sped through the system in only six years. =:P

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“The monitor is the most significant part of this, because the monitor is crucial as we move forward to guarantee that PG&E puts the public’s safety first, which they have been unwilling to do,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat whose San Mateo County district includes San Bruno. “We have been paying the PUC to do this monitoring, but it is clear that the PUC is really incapable of the oversight necessary to guarantee that utilities operate safely in California.”

Federal investigators have harshly criticized the PUC for nurturing a cozy relationship with PG&E that led to lax supervision of the utility.
How does a corporation serve probation, though? (A WSJ report also notes 10,000 hours of community service)

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In addition to the $3 million fine and independent monitor, Henderson ordered PG&E to serve five years of probation — the maximum amount of time legally authorized.
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:03 PM   #45 (permalink)
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While PG&E cannot be held completely responsible for downed power lines, they can be held responsible for never implementing their plans to bury all the power lines in Northern CA. My mom worked for them for a couple of decades, starting in the early 70s, and I remember her talking about those plans even back then.

While it is problematic to bury miles of power lines in mountainous country, like we have in the Napa and Sonoma counties, the fact that they couldn't be arsed to try may make them fully responsible for the faulty lines that sparked these fires in the first place.

Things are about to get real for the company. The PUC isn't gonna mess around with this one.

Edit to add: I used to live in a rental property where power lines ran through a dying oak tree. Every time we had winds over 5MPH, that tree would move, and I'd watch the power lines get stretched. I called PG&E, and also complained to the owner of the house a bunch of times. The owner refused to do anything about the tree, because he thought the property value would go down if it were trimmed back, or cut down.

PG&E never came out to trim the tree back.

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Old 10-14-2017, 08:33 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Another cool shot.

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Old 10-14-2017, 08:41 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Looks like just a fine time to maybe evacuate from that cul-de-sac. But that's just me.
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:10 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Latest news from a couple of hours ago has the death toll at 40, with around 5,700 structures burned. Another figure I had seen earlier was 90,000: The approximate number of people evacuated from the fire zones.

Death toll rises to 40 as firefighters continue to battle massive California wild fires | Los Angeles Times
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:54 PM   #49 (permalink)
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The wind picked up here in Newark, so I expect they were blowing harder up in the north bay. We have about 20 micro climates in this region, so it's hard to say what kind of weather people are getting 60 miles north of me when there's no wind out here.
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:55 PM   #50 (permalink)
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And because why not?

Fire Breaks Out Near Oakland Zoo - NBC Bay Area
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