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California County Uses AI Against Fires

in Housing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sonoma County officials say they will add artificial intelligence technology to help fight wildfires with a 24-7 monitor to track fire outbreaks.

The technology will be added to the county’s network of wildfire detection cameras that monitor California’s backcountry to spot the first outbreak of flames. Many of the cameras are affixed to existing radio communication towers.

“This early detection technology will provide emergency managers and first responders with round-the-clock monitoring, a sophisticated addition we are excited to add to our alert and warning toolkit,” Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins said.

Sonoma County, in the heart of Northern California’s wine country, has been hit hard by devastating wildfires in recent years. In 2017, a blaze caused thousands of people to flee, destroyed more than 5,000 homes, wiped out whole residential blocks in the city of Santa Rosa and killed 24 people.

The system will send a text or email to emergency crews when a possible fire is spotted, and the responding agency would then confirm whether a fire has started.

Continue Reading on Manufacturing.net

Charred homes and crumbled walls: tallying the destruction of a California wildfire

in People

Smoke mixed with morning mist on Mountain Hawk Drive in Santa Rosa, California, on Wednesday morning, creating a thick layer of gray that hung over the smoldering remains of family homes that had been charred by the Glass fire days before.

The fast-moving fire had arrived in the neighborhood on Monday night, consuming roughly an acre every five seconds and leveling many of the hillside homes. Now, remnants of lives lived lined the street. Melted squirt guns left on burned patio tables. A charred piano underneath askew picture frames. Homegrown apples on a singed tree were cooked on the vine.

Continue Reading on The Guardian

California’s wine country residents facing fire fatigue

in News

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Will Abrams and his family packed their pickup truck with laptops, clothes, sleeping bags and a tent and quickly left their rental home in California’s wine country after seeing flames on a hill about a quarter-mile away Monday morning. It was their third hurried fire evacuation in as many years.

In 2017, Abrams woke up to find their Santa Rosa home on fire and cleared burning branches from the driveway so he could get his wife and children to safety. Their home was destroyed. Then last year, the family evacuated as another wildfire bore down on Sonoma County. They were terrified to cross into the San Francisco Bay Area amid smaller grassland fires sparked by power lines falling in the midst of strong, hot winds.

Continue Reading on AP News

‘It’s like God has no sympathy’: Wine Country residents shaken by relentless onslaught of wildfires

in People

Residents of the North Bay’s Wine Country have become tragically familiar with fast-moving wildfires that erupt in the dead of night amid intense autumn winds, forcing them to flee for their lives.

The reactions have varied: Some people have moved away. Some have stayed and pushed fire-safety reforms. Most are simply trying to cope with a new seasonal fear and frustration.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Chronicle

California wildfires erupt from wine country to Los Angeles, damaging Santa Rosa and displacing thousands

in News

Swiftly moving wildfires roared into parts of Santa Rosa, Calif., overnight and Monday morning, causing damage in the eastern parts of the community and sending tens of thousands fleeing during hasty nighttime evacuations. Additional evacuations were ordered throughout the day Monday.

The fires have erupted during yet another in a series of heat waves that have shattered records across the state since August, and dry offshore winds are pushing the flames to spread rapidly downwind.

Homes were engulfed in flames in the Skyhawk neighborhood in eastern Santa Rosa as the Shady and Glass fires advanced into the community. The Shady Fire began Sunday night in Napa County, near the Glass Fire that had begun early Sunday. The cause of both blazes is under investigation.

Continue Reading on Washington Post

Orange skies across California as wildfire smoke blankets state

in News
Kent Porter / The Press Democrat
Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

The Bay Area’s bizarre conditions — with a thick blanket of smoke atop the natural layer of morning fog — confounded the National Weather Service’s forecasting models on Wednesday.

The result, meteorologist Drew Peterson acknowledged, is that the predicted high of 86 degrees in Santa Rosa is way off the mark.

At about 1 p.m., the temperature for Santa Rosa, actually measured at the county airport, was 60 degrees, and Peterson said he would be surprised to see it go higher than the mid-60s.

“The forecast is wrong,” he said. “It’s just because the weather models don’t include smoke.”

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Quail fire outside Vacaville exceeds 1,800 acres

in News/Wildfire Recovery

Crews gained the upper hand Sunday on the first large wildfire in Northern California in months — the Quail Fire burning in Solano County and near Winters in Yolo County — ahead of a new forecast in which strong winds could once again fuel its momentum.

The wildfire, which doubled in size in less than two hours Saturday, had charred 1,837 acres by Sunday afternoon, up from 1,400 acres in the morning, Cal Fire reported. It was 40 percent contained, an increase from 10 percent containment eight hours before.

Evacuation orders, which affected 100 ranches and rural homes, were lifted by the Solano County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 4 p.m. Sunday; entry into the fire zone, however, remains limited to residents. Three structures have been destroyed by flames, officials said.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

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