Twitter Buttons

Sunday, May 1, 2016

CA-SCU/CZU: Open Burning Permits Now Required In CAL FIRE SRA

CAL FIRE transitioning to Requiring Burn Permits for Outdoor Burning

Burn Piles Require Burn Permit
Morgan Hill – Commencing May 1st, 2016 the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) will require a burn permit for any outdoor open burning in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) in the following CAL FIRE Units:

San Mateo - Santa Cruz
Santa Clara - serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and areas west of I-5 in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties

State Responsibility Areas are generally the unincorporated, rural, grass, brush and timber covered lands. Open burning includes agricultural burns, hazard reduction burns but not campfires or BBQ’s.

Individuals who conduct open burning must keep the fire size within the issued permit requirements at all times. 

All open burning permits will require: 

  • Continual monitoring of the fire by an adult
  • A minimum clearance of at least 10 feet to bare mineral soil around the fire
  • Adequate onsite control resources (tools, water, etc.) 
  • No burning on windy days. 
  • Failure to maintain control of an open fire will result in the permit being voided and the permit holder could be cited and potentially held liable for paying fire suppression costs, civil damages and fines. 

Our debris burning safety video can be viewed at:

CAL FIRE burn permits are in addition to any required air quality control district and local fire agency permits. CAL FIRE Chiefs remind local residents “Open burning requires local landowners, to do due diligence to insure they are meeting all conditions set forth by authorizing agencies prior to conducting an open burn”.
For more information on burn permits or wildland fire safety, residents can contact their local CAL FIRE facility
CAL FIRE San Mateo - Santa Cruz Unit
Public Infomation Office 
Media Phone: (831) 335-6717

Saturday, April 30, 2016

California News: New Scorpion Species Discovered in Northern California

New Scorpion Species Discovered in Northern California near the confluence of North and Middle Forks of the American River in El Dorado County.

Pseudouroctonus maidu: New Scorpion Species Discovered in California
A team of entomologists has described a new species of scorpion — Pseudouroctonus maidu — from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northeastern California.The newfound species belongs to the vaejovid scorpion genus Pseudouroctonus.
According to Dr. Warren Savary from the California Academy of Sciences and Dr. Robert Bryson from the University of Washington, it is only the fourth new species of scorpion to be described from California in the past two decades.

The authors named the new species Pseudouroctonus maidu after the Maidu people of northern California, in whose historic lands the species occurs.

It is known only from the type locality near the confluence of North and Middle Forks of the American River in El Dorado County.

“California is home to a remarkable variety of scorpions. However, the more I study them, the more I realize that we’ve only just scratched the surface. A lot of scorpion diversity remains to be described,” Dr. Savary said.

Adult Pseudouroctonus maidu measure between 30 and 40 mm in length. The base color is uniform dark reddish brown. The legs, chelicerae and underside of preabdomen are slightly paler.

Dr. Bryson and Dr. Savary use DNA to help better understand scorpion diversity.

“Scorpions have been around for a long time — over 400 million years — and many are quite similar in general appearance,” Dr. Bryson said.

“We can use DNA sequences to help us piece together how scorpions have evolved and how they are related. Despite looking similar, DNA often reveals that even assumed close relatives can be quite divergent.”

The scientists are working on publishing the descriptions of several other new species of scorpions from California.

“2016 will be an exciting year for scorpion discoveries,” they promised.

Research describing Pseudouroctonus maidu is published online in the journal ZooKeys.

Source: Apr 28, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

Savary W.E. & Bryson Jr. R.W. 2016. Pseudouroctonus maidu, a new species of scorpion from northern California (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). ZooKeys 584: 49-59; doi: 10.3897/zookeys.584.6026

Friday, April 29, 2016

CAL FIRE Seeking $90+ Million in Firefighting Costs from Pacific Gas & Electric Company

CAL FIRE Blames PG&E for Butte Fire, Seeks $90 Million

A firefighter looks at an automatic teller machine after the Butte Fire destroyed the Golden Spur mini market north of Murphys, California on September 13, 2015, near san Andreas, California. David McNew / Getty Images

Heather Peterson and Ryan Harris

CAL FIRE says they will seek more than $90 million in firefighting costs from Pacific Gas & Electric Company after their findings show PG & E was at fault for the Butte Fire

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection released a report Thursday detailing the cause of that 2015 deadly fire in Calaveras and Amador counties. They say it was sparked by a tree that came into contact with a power line.
CAL FIRE says the state's largest utility or its contractors had removed two gray pine trees from a stand in January 2015, exposing a weaker, skinnier interior tree. The 44-foot-tall gray pine tree grew taller, seeking the sun, but eventually slumped into a power line, according to the report.

CAL FIRE's Daniel Berlant says utilities have a legal responsibility to make sure no trees or plants come into contact with its lines, which can start wildfires like the Butte Fire.

The fire started September 9 and burned for three weeks. It killed two people and destroyed more than 900 structures, including some 550 homes.

CAL FIRE says the amount they are seeking is believed to be the largest recovery amount ever sought by Cal Fire. The fire caused an estimated $300 million in insured losses and is the seventh-most destructive wildfire in state history.

The agency forwarded the results of its investigation to Calaveras and Amador County prosecutors, which could seek criminal charges against the utility.

Calaveras County supervisors also say the county will pursue all legal avenues and plans to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from PG & E.

“We are shocked and dismayed by the extent of PG& E’s negligence and will actively seek justice for Calaveras County and its citizens,” said Cliff Edson, Chair of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors. “We will work tirelessly to secure rightful compensation for the County and our residents who are still grieving from the loss of loved ones, their livelihoods, homes, belongings and mementos, and all destroyed and taken from them because of PG&E’s carelessness and negligence.”

“We hold PG& E management and executives responsible for what happened here,” added Edson. “We want to acknowledge the hard work and assistance of PG& E’s excellent field staff for all their efforts and dedication in response and the recovery in Calaveras County. The working men and women of PG& E have made a difference and we thank them.”

Pacific Gas And Electric Company issued a statement in response:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the individuals who lost their homes in the Butte fire. We are reviewing CAL FIRE’s report in its entirety. As we’ve said since September 16, we cooperated fully with CAL FIRE in its investigation on the source of the ignition for the Butte fire. We are committed to doing the right thing for our customers and will respond in the normal legal process."

Source: Posted April 28th, 2016 @ 12:03pm by KFBK News - Heather Peterson and Ryan Harris
Read more:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LACFD Gorman Fire Heavy Brush Northbound Interstate 5 at Gorman Creek

Gorman Fire Los Angeles County Brush Fire
#GormanFire Along Highway 5
4/19/16 15:30 - 60 acres IC reporting 80% contained. Forward progression of the fire has been stopped. 77's area.

Date/Time Started: April 19, 2016 1:09 pm
Administrative Unit: Los Angeles County Fire
County: Los Angeles County
Location: Off northbound Interstate 5 at Gorman Creek
Estimated - Containment: 60 acres from the Los Angeles County Fire Department

Military Vets Preparing To Deploy On New Fire Mission As Wildland Firefighters

Their military duties are done, but they want to keep serving. Dozens of veterans are preparing to deploy again to fight a very different enemy.

Team Rubicon trains Fifty military veterans to do battle with a new enemy wildfire as Wildland Firefighters

ORCAS ISLAND, Wash. -- It’s a world away from the desert sands of Iraq, but it was still a something of a combat mission on Orcas Island, Monday. Fifty military veterans prepared to do battle with a new enemy: wildfire.

“It's very dangerous, but I think our members are used to that sort of risk,” said Vince Moffitt, a member of Team Rubicon.

Team Rubicon is an international organization of American military veterans who volunteer to serve on disaster and relief missions around the globe. The group is now partnering with the Bureau of Land Management to train firefighters to combat wildfires in Washington and beyond. They’ve trained a total of 500 veterans for duty over the past two years.

“These men and women have seen a lot, and they’re exactly what we need,” said the BLM’s Chuck Russell. “They know how to think fast, act fast and have each other’s backs. We’re honored to have them.”

Last year's record wildfires stretched fire crews dangerously thin across the west. Three firefighters died fighting the flames near Twisp. The addition of these skilled veterans is critical for what will be another unpredictable fire season.

“They're used to chaos,” said Moffitt. “They go out there in very stressful situations, and they handle them very well.”

Among those feeling the call to serve once again is Iraq war vet Jay Pense. He has a very personal call to duty. A close buddy was killed in action by an insurgent sniper in Iraq. This will be Pense's second wildfire season with Team Rubicon. He does it, in part, because he knows his buddy would want him to.

“To be able to impact the people in a positive way is important to me and all of us,” he said.

To learn more about Team Rubicon, visit their website.


Monday, April 18, 2016

LAFD Major Emergency Recycling Yard Fire Sent Large Column Of Black Smoke Into The Sky

Fire at Calif. Junkyard Sends Black Smoke into Sky

Flames tore through a junkyard in Sun Valley on Sunday, sending a plume of thick black smoke that was visible from nearby cities.

Smoke Seen For Miles At Massive Fire At Sun Valley Car Recycling Yard


April 18-- The fire broke out shortly before 4 p.m. in the 9100 block of North Tujunga Avenue, and the blaze was fanned by winds measuring between 5 and 10 mph, said Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

More than 150 firefighters battled the fire, which engulfed at least 15 vehicles in the recycling yard, Scott said. The blaze was knocked down in 2 hours and 16 minutes.

No injuries were reported and no structures were threatened. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Firefighters planned to remain vigilant through the night for possible flare-ups, the Fire Department said.

Copyright 2016 - Los Angeles Times

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lawsuit Against Modesto Firefighter Clowns For Child Injuries No Laughing Matter

Modesto firefighter clowns promote fire prevention.
Photo credit: Modesto Local 1289

Suit Against Calif. Firefighter Clowns No Laughing Matter

April 14--Modesto is facing potential legal trouble after one of its firefighters reportedly tripped and fell on a third-grader and broke her arm during a Fire Department safety event called the Clown Program, in which firefighters dress up as clowns and superheroes as they teach schoolchildren such basics as when to call 911 and how to get out of a burning house.

The incident happened Oct. 8 at Sonoma Elementary School, according to a claim filed this month against Modesto by the San Francisco-based law office of Tanya Gomerman. The firm represents third-grader Camila Gomez and her family.

The claim states firefighter Rod Riley and fire engineer Tommy Dick were playing with a ball against a wall as students watched. "Rod Riley was attempting to catch the ball and tripped over this group of students, causing him to fall on top of Camila Gomez," the claim states.

Camila sustained fractures in her right arm that required extensive medical treatment, including two surgeries, according to the claim. "Miss Gomez continues to have pain in her arm, has two large scars, and continues to suffer from emotional distress over the traumatic incident," Gomerman said in an email.

The claim seeks at least $25,000 from the city for the girl's injuries.

Fire Chief Sean Slamon said Riley was not in costume because he was the DJ for the program, while Dick was dressed as a clown. Firefighters use music to reinforce the safety lessons they teach the children, who are kindergartners to third-graders.

Slamon declined to comment about the incident because of the claim but in an email said he once had been a clown in the safety program and it was among the most rewarding experiences in his career. He said the Clown Program educates more than 5,000 children each year.

"This is the best and most effective public education program we deliver," he said in the email. "The firefighters that are involved ... dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort every year to develop, prepare for, and present these safety programs. ... I have no doubt this program has saved lives and prevented injuries."

Gomerman also filed a claim against Modesto City Schools seeking at least $25,000 and alleging Sonoma Elementary staff failed to provide adequate supervision during the event.

Source; Kevin Valine, Copyright 2016 - The Modesto Bee

Friday, April 15, 2016

Seasonal Federal Firefighters Hiring Reform Bill Corrected

Congress Intervenes to Fix Hiring Regs Written by ‘Entrenched Bureaucrats’ at OPM

A “no-brainer” hiring reform bill President Obama signed into law last year after receiving unanimous support in Congress was intended to be a non-controversial and painless way to ease hiring at certain agencies. Only one thing stood in its way: the Office of Personnel Management.

Firefighters are among the temporary workers the law could benefit. Kari Greer/U.S. Forest Service file photo
 The bill was created to give land management employees on temporary appointments the ability to apply for permanent positions while taking advantage of their service time. The measure was created to fix a perceived inequity that led to seasonal workers -- such as federal firefighters -- returning to their same jobs year after year at the same pay level without the opportunities for career advancement enjoyed by the rest of the federal workforce.

The Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act was written to give temporary employees access to apply for jobs previously available only as promotions for permanent workers at the hiring agency. Much to the chagrin of the lawmakers who wrote the bill and the union that backed it, OPM took a narrow interpretation in issuing regulations on the law. The human resources agency said the bill would only give temporary workers a leg up in applying to positions at their current agency, rather than across federal government.

The National Federation of Federal Employees has for months lobbied OPM and Congress to widen that rule, saying it undermined the true intent of the original legislation.

“In direct opposition to congressional intent, entrenched bureaucrats at OPM are keeping in place the very barriers to meaningful career advancement the [land management law] was enacted to break down,” NFFE President William Dougan said in a statement, after writing a letter to Obama asking him to intervene.

Dougan said in that letter that OPM had demonstrated a “flagrant disregard for the will of Congress” and was using logic typically reserved for Dr. Seuss books.

On Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced a correction to its original bill to clarify that seasonal land management employees should be able to apply to internal job listings across government.

“Unfortunately, OPM issued regulations with a narrow reading going against clear congressional intent,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., author of both the original measure and its fix. That intent, he said “has been thwarted.”

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz echoed Connolly’s comments.

“This is, I think, a misread by OPM,” Chaffetz said. “These are people fighting fires. They're hired as seasonal workers, my goodness, and they can't even apply for a job? It really is quite amazing and ridiculous.”

For now, the law affects about 10,000 employees at the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Indian Affairs Bureau and Reclamation Bureau. The impact of the ultimate congressional and regulatory interpretation of the law could be far more reaching.

Original leaders on the bill have said that land management agencies should serve as a test case, and eventually temporary employees across government should be entitled to easier career advancement. Already, Republican lawmakers have mimicked the legislation to apply it to the Defense Department.

Temporary seasonal employees can work at most six months per year. They do not receive the same benefits as their permanent counterparts. Permanent seasonal employees -- who also only work part of the year but are placed on furlough status rather than being let go completely when their work is not required -- receive all the same (albeit pro-rated) benefits as regular, full-time workers.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

LAFD Showcased Six New LAX Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Vehicles Tuesday

Los Angeles Fire Department officials showcased six new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting vehicles on Tuesday that recently have been placed into service at Los Angeles International Airport.

The vehicles will respond to “all manner of aircraft emergencies and incidents on the airfield,’’ according to fire department officials.

They replace four aging fire trucks, which will be re-deployed to Van Nuys and Ontario airports.

See the whole story here 

2016 LAX Air Exercise Drill Includes Explosions And New Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Rigs

More than 500 stage LAX airplane-accident drill

A controlled explosion signals the start of the 2016 LAX Air Exercise (AirEx), a full-scale simulation designed to test Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX’s) readiness to respond to an aircraft accident on the airfield
Explosions sent smoke into the air and blood-soaked passengers were scattered on the tarmac Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport on, but the drama wasn’t real.
The bustle of activity was part of the 2016 LAX Air Exercise, a two-hour, unrehearsed drill designed to test the ability of hundreds of emergency-response personnel to react to a disaster on the airfield.

The scenario simulated an aircraft landing at LAX and striking a vehicle on the ground. Organizers set off actual explosions on the tarmac to simulate the crash, and about 150 volunteers posed as victims, many with bloody makeup and props simulating broken limbs or other injuries.

“Exercises like the one we’re holding here today affirm the LAFD’s commitment to train like our lives depend on it, because they do,” Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said. “And the lives of thousands of people — both Angelenos and members of the traveling public — also depend on it.”

Taking part in the drill were more than 500 personnel, including representatives from Los Angeles World Airports, the city Police and Fire departments, city Emergency Management Department, American Red Cross, county coroner’s office, FBI, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and the cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.

The exercise is mandated by the FAA and must be conducted at least once every three years “to evaluate the operational capability of readiness of LAX’s emergency response and management system.”

Featured in the exercise were six new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting vehicles that were recently acquired at a cost of $5.7 million. The vehicles replaced four older ones that have been redeployed to Van Nuys and Ontario airports.

Photo Credit:• VIDEO: LAFD Capt. Bill Wick shows us around the new firefighting vehicles at LAX

Twitter links