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California wildfire not only damaged houses but also eliminated memories

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2017

Wildfire in California

Victims of the wildfires in California, U.S. have begun the painful process of returning back to their neighborhoods and picking up the pieces of their shattered homes.

Thousands of houses were left in ruins after days of deadly wildfires, which has, so far, claimed 21 lives.

“When I found out it was happening, I was pretty devastated. Our neighbor, he is a firefighter; he saved our cats and our dog. And we got all of our family pictures, so I’m really grateful for that. It’s just stuff at the end of the day. I’m just glad my family is okay, said Breanna Shaevitz, a local resident for 15 years.

Now Shaevitz’ parents have to live in a hotel, and they will be living there for around one year.

For most people whose houses were burned in the wildfires, the fires not only damaged their residence but also eliminated memories. It will be a long-term project to rebuild the damaged houses and rebuild the people’s lives.

In Santa Rosa, some houses survived, but some were utterly and completely destructed as though they were hit by a bomb.

“That area doesn’t look good at all. Walk by your neighbors and everything is gone,” said the local resident.

With fires still spreading, many are frustrated that authorities will not allow them to go back into their homes. Hundreds of people are still reported missing though communities are holding out hope that the main reason is that power is down in many areas.

The Jackson family is picking up the pieces of what was left of the home they lived in for three decades. So far they have only able to salvage a few metal boxes and items like cast-iron skillets.

Homeowner Regina Jackson is trying to stay positive – being thankful that all of her family survived.

“There are so many ways to replace with new memories. We have a wonderful family. That’s where I can get my strength. I mean at our age it’s hard to think about starting over. But we are pretty resilient and we will,” said Jackson. — 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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Southern California residents advised to “be ready to go” as wildfires continue to roar

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017

Authorities feared the four major fires — ranging from Los Angeles up the Pacific coast to Santa Barbara County – would be whipped up by the region’s notorious westward Santa Ana winds that could reach hurricane strength.

“The prediction is even though this is a period of calm winds that we will continue to get gusts through Saturday that will be erratic and unpredictable, as high as 50-70 miles and hour [about 80-110 KPH]. As the chief said yesterday, these conditions combined with the heat that is now coming to the area, the dryness, the amount of vegetation that someone of the areas that have not burned, makes this still a very threatening environment. So even as you see inroads being made we are going to have an abundance of caution. We want to make sure that you are safe and that we don’t order people back to their homes or allow people back to their homes any earlier than possible,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The national weather service said Santa Ana winds were blowing on Thursday afternoon, and the California state fire agency said gusty winds and extremely low humidity would continue through Sunday.

Wildfires roared through canyons, hillsides and residential areas in densely populated southern California for a fourth day on Thursday.

Thousands of people have evacuated ahead of the fires, which have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced hundreds of Los Angeles-area schools to close.

“Our biggest nightmare has been the palm tree farm back there. And you know, they are so you know prone to lighting on fire. They are just torches basically. So we’ve been watching that very closely and then this morning, of course, the wind and the sparks got together and burned them all up,” Mandy Dugan, a local resident.

Filipinos were among the evacuees from affected counties. Three of them are staying at Sylmar evacuation center in San Fernando Valley.

Ricardo Victoria said that the authorities ordered forced evacuation as the wildfire came very close to their homes.

Ricardo said other Filipinos were brought to different centers for safety. Representatives of Filipino organizations and the Philippine Consulate are constantly communicating with Los Angeles authorities to check and verify on the situation of Filipinos affected by the wildfire,” said the evacuee.

The Los Angeles local government has set up 16 evacuation centers to where affected residents can stay and four more centers for pets and other animals.

The red zones remain under mandatory evacuations and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized very strongly and clearly to the residents to be ready to go and do not hesitate to leave when necessary. — Reuters

 

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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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