California Gov. Gavin Newsom began his term this week by signing an executive order directing new wildfire risk mitigation efforts that include assessing “socioeconomic factors and vulnerable populations that exacerbate the human toll of wildfires.”
Paradise lost; its residents found
Cell phone location data helps uncover where the residents of Paradise, Calif., went as the historic fire bore down on their homes.
The rising cost of climate-driven disasters including hurricanes and fires is prompting Fema to shift more responsibility to states
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has directed far less resources to helping California cope with the devastating Camp Fire than it typically sends to states dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane, or other natural disasters. But experts say that’s by design, as California’s robust disaster response planning and operations make the feds less necessary in the early stages of fighting a disaster.
From the NYTimes, this balanced article about the role of FEMA in response to the CA wildfires: What FEMA Is Doing, and Not Doing, in Response to California’s Fires
FEMA won’t enact a major housing program that would help California wildfire survivors. Homelessness after the fires is both “predictable and preventable,” housing advocates told ThinkProgress. An excerpt from the article:
FEMA told ThinkProgress in an email that as of Tuesday morning, only 49 families (120 individual people) have checked into hotels through FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program. The TSA program pays for hotel sheltering for people displaced in emergencies.
But there are other programs available to FEMA. The agency has thus far refused to enact a Department of Housing and Urban Development-administered program that would provide essential housing relief to those people in desperate need of stable housing. The Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, provides housing subsidies to survivors and evacuees, and covers the cost of rent, security deposit, and utilities.
The Paradise fire is catastrophic. And the wildfire threat to California is only growing. The ingredients that fueled the deadly wildfire were brewing for years. Residents only had minutes to flee. An excerpt:
The fact is, climate and forest science tells us that massive wildfires like this are likely to become more destructive as average temperatures rise and populations grow, putting people and fuel into closer contact. We can do many things to reduce these risks. However, the Camp Fire is a stark vision of a future where we do nothing.
Update on Nov. 18. Some pictures of the aftermath of the fires in CA.
The Camp Fire is now the most destructive blaze in California history
Deadly fires have burned almost 140,000 acres across the state
Sadly the President issued a tweet showing total lack of knowledge about wildfires and no sympathy for victims.
Update: I am not alone in noting the inappropriate tweet. See: President Trump’s tweet on California wildfires angers firefighters, celebrities.
“Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography,”
I say Bravo and Thanks to the many first responders and all others involved in dealing with these fires. Hopefully we will get some public leaders with an appreciate for science and climate matters in the near future.
Insurers see smoldering risk after huge blaze.One quote: While insurance rates are going up, homeowners aren’t necessarily heeding the message that risks are on the rise.
Thanks to Dave Calkin for this citation.