The human-caused East Desert fire ignited Sunday afternoon near 24th Street and Desert Hills Drive in Cave Creek, Arizona. The fire originally only prompted the evacuation of a few homes west of the fire. However, due to wind and slope, the fire quickly grew to 1,000 acres by Sunday Night. Consequently, the forest service ordered additional crews, engines, and aircraft support. Then by Monday morning, the fire spread close to 1,500 acres into the Cahava Springs area, sparking additional evacuations of 130 homes immediately east of the fire. Thankfully overall, the fire has not destroyed any structures or caused any injuries.
Here at RedZone we take pride in how our technology empowers stakeholders to make informed decisions about wildfire risk. Especially since 2017. Other models often don’t provide an accurate wildfire risk assessment. As a result, Underwriters and Catastrophe Managers spend more time researching additional data. RZRisk delivers the exact resources and information underwriters need to efficiently and confidently assess wildfire hazard, saving them time and money. One of our favorite things to do is to take a step back and evaluate how our risk model performed after wildfires cause losses. RedZone did this recently with California’s most destructive fire ever, November 2018’s Camp Fire.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on too many activities to count. Add storm chasing to the list! Springtime usually brings all the excitement for the daredevils running towards monstrous storms and tornados. This year, storm chasers not only face the danger of unpredictable weather events, but also the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has shaken several types of storm chasers. Solo goers who chase as a hobby, businesses that chase with tours, meteorologists and/or professors that chase for research and reporting.
Concern over fire response is growing as wildfire season approaches, and the coronavirus implications persist. Wildfire response is likely to be measured and conservative as public agencies too try to reduce the spread of coronavirus. A recent New York Times article suggests firefighters will still respond to wildfires, but a major cloud surrounds the logistics of it all.
Starting in early April, wildfires have been burning near the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear accident site. Knowingly, farmers started the fires to burn dry grass to prep the soil for the upcoming farming season. Burning the dry grass is a tradition in this region, so some residents started the fires to pay the annual homage. For a short time, the fires were contained. Recently, they flared up and are burning again due to strong winds. About 1,300 firefighters are working to contain the fires burning in three main areas. At this point, the fires have burned about 8,600 acres. Several abandoned villages are complete losses. Unfortunately, the smoke pollution is largely impacting Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. The smoke consists of carbon emissions and aerosols. Residents of Kyiv are being advised to keep all windows closed.
Here at RedZone we’ve been working with the great people at Fulcrum for a couple years. After a few interviews and discussions about how we use their mobile mapping app in both our Event Dashboard and Field Operations, it became apparent we were doing something they found extraordinary. As a result, our story of software integration and mobile mapping operations for wildfire response was recently featured as one of Fulcrum’s successful customer stories.
Though Covid-19 dominates the news cycle these days, it is important to be aware of the other threats facing Americans as we move into Spring. Today we will be talking Tornadoes, which have already caused some deadly damage this year ahead of the peak season. As of this writing, 34 people have already lost their lives to tornadoes in the US. Read more
The last couple weeks have brought rain to the majority of California, but unfortunately, most of the state remains in a rainfall deficit. With the exception of the San Diego area, which is above normal, the rest of the state gets progressively drier as you move north.
Reservoirs are Full but Northern California is Still in a Deficit
The state’s largest reservoirs are located across Northern California and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. These reservoirs are currently at or above historical averages for this time of the year, but the snow pack that feeds these stockpiles are measuring just over half of their normal levels for the season. Across the rest of the state the story is similar. San Francisco, for example, has only received about 50% of the normal rainfall for the year. April precipitation is not expected to alleviate this deficit, with most forecasts predicting a dryer than normal month. This does not bode well for some of the dryer portions of the state trying to catch up. Many areas need triple digit increases in the average rain totals to make up for the shortfall. San Jose tops this list, requiring an almost 500% increase in rainfall before the end of June, just to breakeven.
During World War II, Japanese submarines off of the Santa Barbara Coast fired shells making an oil field explode near the Los Padres National Forest. This created a fear in Americans. People were concerned that wildfire could be used as a war tactic in the forests off of the Pacific Coast. The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) program was created to bring light to wildfire prevention by reducing the number of human caused fires. Eventually, this program led to the creation of Smokey Bear as an influential wildfire prevention icon. Smokey is now recognized by 96% of adults – a recognition rate that is comparable to that of the President and Mickey Mouse!