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California prepares for the ‘Big One’ with earthquake drill

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017

California held its latest annual “Great Shakeout” earthquake drill on Thursday.

The event, first held nine years ago in the Los Angeles area, was organized by scientists and emergency officials as part of a campaign to prepare the region’s inhabitants for a catastrophic quake that experts say is inevitable and long overdue.

“So this is the big shaker and today. We’re simulating a 7.7 magnitude earthquake, which is a very significant quake. A quake like that would be very damaging to our infrastructure. We would lose power, we would lose water and people are going to be on their own for a period three days, seven days or longer,” said President of ‘Ready America’ disaster supplies company Eff Primes.

The exercise has since expanded to encompass all of California and most other states. In many places, entire school districts, colleges, workplaces, and municipalities have registered to take part.

In keeping with the drill’s quake-survival message, participants are urged to “drop, cover and hold” – meaning get down on hands and knees, cover their heads and necks under a sturdy piece of furniture and hang on until the hypothetical shaking stops.

“Did today serves as an example to every single corporate office, agency or organization, even households, and schools. So this serves as an example for everybody to be prepared and to train and to drill, wherever they might be,” said exercise designer for “The Great Shakeout” Erik Franco

One of the larger gatherings was held at the natural history museum in exposition park near downtown Los Angeles, based on the premise of a magnitude 7.8 quake striking the southern end of the San Andreas Fault, a subterranean chasm between two massive plates of the earth’s crust that extends hundreds of miles across California. — Reuters

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Man arrested in connection with starting Southern California wildfire

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Forest Gordon Clark, suspect for Holy Fire (Screenshots via Reuters video)

 

A man was expected to be charged in connection with starting the Holy Fire, which has burned more than 4,100 acres in the Cleveland National Forest in Southern California, officials said on Wednesday (August 8).

Forrest Clark, 51, was arrested on Tuesday (August 7) and was held in jail on $1 million bail, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said on its website.

Clark was expected to be charged with aggravated arson, criminal threats and resisting an executive officer and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, Orange County District Attorney Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder said at a news conference.

“Arson is a terrible crime that destroys dreams, and even when people are not physically hurt it can destroy that baby blanket that still smells like your kid or that family portrait of your grandparents getting married,” Schroeder said.

Clark was scheduled to be arraigned in court on Thursday (August 9), Schroeder said. — Reuters

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Massive wildfire becomes largest in California history

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

 

Aerials of so-called “Holy Fire” (Screenshot from Reuters video)

The Mendocino Complex fire became the largest wildfire in Californian history on Monday (August 6) as it raged at the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest where crews battled to keep flames from descending into foothill communities.

The Mendocino Complex Fire, made up of two separate conflagrations that merged, grew to 283,800 acres (114,800 hectares) and was still growing, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire surpassed the Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in 2017, as prime weather conditions are expected to persist.

The Mendocino Complex, which has destroyed 75 homes and forced thousands to flee, is the largest of eight major wildfires burning out of control across California, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in the state.

Elsewhere in California, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon after a blaze broke out and quickly spread to blacken some 700 acres (283 hectares). — Reuters

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Bigger wildfires seen to hit California due to climate change

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

 

With Thomas wildfire flames burning behind it, a Christmas Tree stands as a lone sentinel in the front yard of an evacuated home in this social media photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department in Carpinteria, California, U.S. on December 11, 2017. Courtesy Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS

The Center for Climate Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has warned of larger and more destructive wildfires to hit the state in the coming years due to climate change.

A bio-science journal in February revealed that the continuing increase of tree mortality rates in California could cause mass fires on the same scale as the “Ventura Fire” in 2017 which is considered as the largest wildfire ever recorded in the state’s history so far.

According to environmental group, Sierra Club, record shows that since 2014, a total of 129 million trees have died across 8.9 million acres of what used to be lush, green forest.

Environmentalists blame the phenomenon on effects of climate change; unusual high temperatures; years of severe drought and overgrowth of plants due to fire suppression in previous wildfires.

Though the state government is now working on removing the dead trees from forest lands to prevent more wild fires, authorities remind residents to be vigilant and to help with the removal of dead trees in their areas.

However, some residents are complaining against the high cost of these efforts which could reach USD1,000 in professional fees.  — UNTV News & Rescue

 

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