The Impact of Wildfire Smoke on Health

With an unprecedented fire season, more people have seen or experienced the detrimental effects of wildfires. Smoke damage is frequently an overlooked consequence from these fires. Not only can smoke be damaging to homes, but it can also be harmful to wildlife and to one’s health. In August and September, extreme wildfire activity throughout the western states created an abundance of smoke that spread across the continental U.S. Unfortunately, the widespread smoke caused an increase in hazardous air quality across the country. RedZone decided to take a closer look at the effects of smoke on health and on local wildlife and pets. Read more

Smoke Column

Five Areas with Higher Wildfire Risk Than You Might Think

RedZone has highlighted five lesser-known areas where homeowners have increased wildfire risk

  1. Mid-slope areas
  2. Areas Adjacent to Wildland Fuels
  3. In the Ember Zone
  4. In Urban Canyons
  5. Proximity to Highway Grade

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The Smokey Bear Story

Map of Ellwood Oil Fields Damaged by Japanese Shelling Off California Coast

Ellwood Oil Fields Where Japanese Submarines Attacked in 1942

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!

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RedZone booth at RAA conference, 2019

RedZone Software goes to Orlando!

This week, RedZone Software is in attendance at the Cat Risk Management Conference in Orlando, FL. The conference is hosted every year by the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA). The event brings leading global experts together to meet and discuss catastrophe risk management. Representatives from all across the industry were present, including: reinsurers, modeling companies, researchers, regulators, and academics. As the conference subtitle for 2020 indicates, attendees are experiencing “Forward Looking Catastrophe Risk Management”! This is RedZone’s 3rd year in attendance featuring the RZRisk and RZExposure solutions we offer.

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The Mississippi River Levees Could Struggle this Hurricane Season

Mississippi River Flooding

The Mississippi River entered flood stage on February 17, 2019 and remained in flood stage in New Orleans for a record 292 days. In an average year, the river runs around three to five feet deep through New Orleans heading into Hurricane Season. This week, the river just dropped under eleven feet deep. A large hurricane, like Katrina, can add twelve feet to the river depth, which would push well beyond the levee height and cause widespread flooding. Read more

Doug Lannon and Cal Fire Department

Operation Santa Ana – 20 Year Anniversary

June 2019 marked the 20th year anniversary for Operation Santa Ana. Doug Lannon, a retired Cal Fire Assistant Chief from the San Bernardino Unit and current Senior Wildfire Liaison for RedZone, served as the keynote speaker to kick off the training event for this year’s inspection assignments at the Southern California Edison Inc. Training and Educational Facility.

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GIS and the Fire Service

With the duties assigned to fire agencies becoming more daunting as the population continues to grow, and climatic conditions favor worse fire behavior, the service has adopted GIS as a means to combat these ever changing factors. In this blog, I briefly touch on some of the aspect that GIS software programs have been implemented in the fire service to help mitigate some of the issues related to the disasters they face on a daily basis.

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New PBS Documentary: Inside The Megafire

A recent PBS documentary that aired in early May 2019 details accounts of California residents that fled for their lives during the 2018 fire season. It also extensively looks into extreme wildfire behavior, exploring how forestry practices, climate change, and physics play a role in fire activity.

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Wildfireintel.org: Your Source for Intelligence and Discussion

The 2019 wildfire season is about to start. So far this year major fires have already igniting across Texas, Oklahoma, and the Southwest. As we move into the summer months, increasingly warm and dry conditions will continue to fuel the threat of wildfires. The National Inter-agency Fire Center released their fire potential outlook for summer months, predicting an above average fire season for all of the twelve western states making wildfire intelligence gathering even more essential. This foreboding outlook comes on the heels of another (2018) Fire Season that set multiple records.

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View of the north end of Resurrection Bay at Seward, Alaska, about 75 km from the epicenter. An overturned ship, a demolished Texaco chemical truck, and a torn-up dock strewn with logs and scrap metal are visible. At Seward, a community of about 2,300, a section of the waterfront slid into Resurrection Bay. Waves spread in all directions, destroying the Alaska railroad docks, washing out railroad and highway bridges, and piling railroad rolling stock into giant windrows of wreckage. The waves left a shambles of houses and boats in the lagoon area, some still looking relatively undamaged and some almost completely battered. The waves spread flaming petroleum over the waterfront, igniting the rolling stock, the electrical generation plant, and some residences. Resurrection Bay received $14.6 million in damage. Eleven fatalities occurred in the Seward area. (Source: NOAA/NCEI, US DOI)

Do You Live in an Area of High Tsunami Risk?

Just as the Midwest United States is known as ‘Tornado Alley’ and earthquakes occur along fault lines more regularly than other locations, there are coastal areas at increased tsunami risk. As discussed previously, tsunamis are mostly caused by intense and sudden seafloor motion. While the first ideas to come to mind may be earthquakes and volcanoes (among others), the coastal areas most near these events are not necessarily the area(s) at highest risk.

Tsunami evacuation signs from around the world, posted in areas of high tsunami risk (L to R: Thailand, California USA, Colombia, Japan; see end for credits)

Tsunami evacuation signs from around the world, posted in areas of high tsunami risk (L to R: Thailand, California USA, Colombia, Japan; see end for credits)

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