Fires around the world


The Living Force
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SAULSALITO, Calif. - PG&E has notified approximately 201,000 customers that they may be impacted begninning late Wednesday by another planned power shutoff because of extreme weather conditions in the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay.

Officials said on Monday that portions of 16 California counties may be affected. If you don't receive a phone call, email or text message from the utility, your power will likely not be shutoff, PG&E President and CEO Bill Johnson said at the 5:30 p.m. news conference. The outages could come as soon as 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

However, PG&E said the beginning of the shutoff times would vary. Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Sutter, and Yuba are all of the counties on the list.
The announcement is not likely something people want to hear, but this time PG&E said the shut off would be significantly smaller than the outages from two weekes ago.

Notifications to customers began Monday afternoon, approximately 48 hours before the potential de-energization, officials said.

At this point, PG&E has not officially called for a public safety power shut off, but they want people to know they’re considering it for later this week.

PG&E activated its emergency operations center Sunday night.

The utility is watching strong and dry offshore winds that are expected to last between Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon in the North Bay and Sierra foothills. Winds could exceed 55 mph gusts in the Foothills. In the North Bay the wind gusts are predicted to to be 35-45 mph.

PG&E said the state's high-risk areas for wildfires have tripled in seven years.

"We don't want to turn off power," Johnson said on Monday. However, he reiterated that the conditions are favorable for fire and the shutoffs are to prevent sparking from their electrical equipment, which can lead to catastrophic wildfires.

In the Bay Area, just under 10,000 customers in Napa County would be affected. In Sonoma County the total customers who could be affected is 33,613. In San Mateo the number is nearly 6,500 customers.

PG&E's Wildfire Safety Operations Center, a 24/7 effort to determine if the pending weather will be dangerousis staffed by 26 crews that practice the three "S's": Safety, including suppression of fires, switching, because sparks can happen and they're often on standby to put those fires out if they finally happen. And finally seeing, or reporting on the actual conditions on the ground.

“We learned a lot from the form the last public safety power shutoff and we're committed to making improvements," said PG&E spokesperson Megan McFarland. "One of the things we're doing" we're shoring up our contact centers and our web site. We're making those stronger so they can handle the larger volume of inquiries.”

They're also working on improving the speed at which inspections are conducted. The utility is trying to obtain infrared goggles and scopes to conduct their inspections at night.

“Normally, during a public safety power shutoff, we have to wait till daybreak to have our crews do the inspections. But allowing the inspections to take place at night could potentially speed up the restoration time,” said McFarland.

The utility is in the process of finding community resource centers that would be established in the event of a power shutoff, where residents could find air conditioning and charge their electrical devices such as laptops and cell phones.

PG&E will be providing updates over the next few days.

A fire broke out on the roof of the SkyCity High-rise Conference Center in downtown Auckland. Police and emergency services completely blocked the area. No injuries reported:



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Fire conditions eased on some of the major fronts burning across Australia on Sunday after a cool weather change, with firefighters trying to contain blazes before the expected return of hotter conditions at the end of the week.

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FILE PHOTO: A home is seen as smoke from the Grose Valley Fire rises in the distance, at Bilpin, New South Wales, Australia, December 21, 2019. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts via REUTERS/File Photo

Australia's bushfires circle Sydney as temperatures soar

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Flowers and the helmets of volunteer firefighters Andrew O'Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton, who died when their fire truck was struck by a falling tree as it traveled through the front line of a fire, are seen at a memorial at the Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade in Horsley Park, NSW, December 20, 2019. AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi/via REUTERS
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a rare public apology on Friday and cut short a Hawaiian vacation in response to mounting public anger after two volunteer firefighters were killed battling bushfires sweeping the country's east coast.

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Australia's most populous state declared its second emergency in as many months on Thursday as extreme heat and strong winds stoked more than 100 bushfires, including three major blazes on Sydney's doorstep.

Australian firefighters warn of uncontrollable blazes as conditions worsen
FILE PHOTO: A fire blazes across bush as seen from Mount Tomah in New South Wales, Australia December 15, 2019 in this still image obtained from social media video. NSW RFS – TERRY HILLS BRIGADE/via REUTERS
Firefighters in Australia warned on Tuesday they would not be able to contain some of the 100 fires still ablaze in the country before conditions are expected to deteriorate later this week.

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A 12-year-old boy in Australia and his dog have escaped a fire that was lapping his family's farm house by grabbing the keys to his brother's pick-up truck and driving to safety.

Australia firefighters accidentally spread blaze ahead of heatwave
Firefighters work at the scene of a bushfires in Bilpin, New South Wales, Australia in this still image from a social media video December 15, 2019. Andrew Mitchell/Cottage Point Rural Fire Brigade via REUTERS
A backburning operation intended to contain a massive wildfire in eastern Australia sparked out of control, damaging buildings and cutting off major roads, authorities said, as the country heads into another heatwave that may topple temperature records.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze that burned two empty passenger buses near a rideshare lot at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night, temporarily snarling traffic on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The fire erupted about 9 p.m. and fully engulfed the liquid propane-powered buses near the new “LAXit” rideshare pickup area, Los Angeles fire officials said. The flames also caused some damage to a third bus parked nearby.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A fire in a poor neighborhood of the coastal Chilean city of Valparaíso destroyed dozens of houses on Tuesday and firefighters struggled to control the blaze, authorities said.

Fire in Chilean city of Valparaíso destroys about 50 homes: firefighters
A house burns following the spread of wildfires in Valparaiso, Chile, December 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

Dec. 15, 2019 -
Fire in Chilean city of Valparaíso destroys about 50 homes -firefighters | Reuters Video (Video)

Australian firefighters spend Christmas Day containing blazes; temperatures to soar
Australian firefighters used cooler conditions on Christmas Day to try and contain bushfires ahead of hot, dry weather later in the week, as leaders and communities thanked them for sacrificing time with their families over the holidays.

Australia's wildlife carers set to work around the clock over Christmas
A koala drinks water offered from a bottle by a firefighter during bushfires in Cudlee Creek, south Australia, December 22, 2019, in this picture obtained from social media. Picture taken December 22, 2019.  Mandatory credit OAKBANK BALHANNAH CFS/via REUTERS
Wildlife carers in Australia are ready to work around the clock over Christmas, preparing for more admissions particularly for baby animals stressed by hot weather, bushfires and drought.

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FILE PHOTO: Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison greets a volunteer during a visit to the Wollondilly Emergency Control Centre in Sydney, Australia, December 22, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS
Calls for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to resign have littered social media platforms after it was revealed he was holidaying in Hawaii while the country battled a bushfire emergency and his return has failed to douse the criticism.
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