About this same time last year people were stuck in traffic, frustrated & panicked. Residents were evacuating the areas facing flooding by the cave in of Oroville Dam. Officials had empathically claimed the spillway could handle the load of the punishing rains, only to rethink the situation and order an evacuation.
Now in 2018, people faced a similar circumstance. Rather than facing the possibility of a wall of water, evacuees faced walls of fire in the fast-moving, wind-driven fire named Camp Fire in Butte County. Being forced into an epic-traffic jam with the threat of being overrun by a wall of water any minute, is sobering. In Paradise, people were able to see what they were up against with fire bearing down on them. -East Bay Times
The Oroville spillway has been repaired and is now curing; the process requires a month. The spillway is anticipated to be fully ready for rain the first of December. The repair of the emergency spillways is continuing. With on-going wildfires in CA, many people need & will need time to grieve their losses from fire devastation. The spillway will soon be ready to hold the rains we need to help put out these fires and water the dried vegetation that is fueling them. Californians unite in dealing with these issues facing our state: water preservation, our aging infrastructure, and our all-year fire season. -East Bay Times
photo top– Oroville Dam Spillway by The Associated Press
Construction crews with their trucks & equipment are shown within days of completing a new-cement pour. Now, the spillway needs a month to cure. Contractors met their deadline of having it ready by Dec. 1.
photo bottom- from thetimescouk by getty images
People were forced to evacuate the fast-moving Camp Fire in Butte County, CA.
Feature photo by Ray Chavez for Bay Area News Group taken on 8-22-2017
Short video clip of Refugee jam
I found myself listening intently to ‘Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty & laughed at its cavalier honesty. Knowing he and The Heartbreakers would be in the Bay Area, I bought a ticket to their ‘Fortieth Anniversary Tour’ stop.
The scene: The sun is setting on a warm day in beautiful Berkeley; the distinctive smell of weed is wafting through the air. It’s the first day of their tour in Northern CA. The Greek Theater is known for its good sound quality. It’s a relatively-small venue with an intimate feel. Concerts lend themselves to fast friendships, if only for the night.
Barbara Maher’s house was built on the edge of a canyon in Paradise, CA. It survived the fire, whereas, a neighbor’s house also on the canyon edge, did not.
She was at home, her husband away, when the fire approached.
“I could hear it rumble,” said Maher, a lab worker at Enloe Medical Center in Chico. “It was like this living thing.”
She had already used sprinklers to wet the roof. Cal Fire inspectors had inspected her house last May- satisfied with the well-cleared space around her house.
Before she fled, she shut all the windows & left the water cannons on in the front of her house. –East Bay Times based
industrial water cannon
water cannons- for pools and fire prevention
Water cannons may be used more frequently in California landscapes in the future. Ideally, a pool could be used as a water reservoir automatically. I’m unaware of how many homeowners had these in Paradise, CA. In the aftermath of the fire, I imagine these may be used by more people for the function of fire prevention. Barbara Maher’s strategy for surviving the wildfire was a sound one. Defensible space around her home along with water cannons may have played a part in saving her house.
The lobby (first of three floors) features a massive, glasslined oval atrium. photo- aric crabb for East Bay Times
Officials consider the new Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion at Washingto Hospital in Fremont, CA one of the most seismically-safe facilities in the Bay Area. The 225,000 sq foot facility was built on a ‘base isolation’ system that allows the structure to move about 3 feet in any horizontal direction in a quake at a cost of $350M & over three years of construction. It’s anticipated that the hospitals’ operations will remain totally intact following an earthquake.
Brad Welton of Paradise, considers himself a survivor, not a survivalist. The other night he saw flashlights scanning his neighbor’s property & knew, “A sure sign of looters.” He pumped his shotgun, & the tchick-tchick echoed through the burned forest. “They know what it is. They take off.”
His blind mother, Norma, age 90, didn’t want to leave. He & his mom’s caregiver, Michiel McCrary fought the blaze together. –East Bay Times based article
Paradise, CA was ravished by wildfires yesterday. “Day turned into night quickly”, said Scott McLean of Cal Fire who battled the fire. It’s estimated that eighty percent of the town was wiped out. McLean said it was hard to estimate because,
“You have to understand it’s a battlefield out there.”
He explained: there’s no infrastructure left, highways are gone, side roads destroyed, PGE is working in the area & burned-out vehicles blocking access need to be moved. The fire moved incredibly fast. At one point, it’s estimated it was moving at ‘eighty football fields’ every minute. Air-quality alerts are in place in the Bay Area. In some places the measure of the air quality soared past 180. At least two schools in the North Bay have been closed: Santa Rosa and Petaluma.
-KGO radio news, images- top, thetimescouk of ‘Paradise Lost’, bottom, getty images