5 lessons we learned from the California wildfires

Source(s)
New York Times, the

By Tim Arango, Jose A. Del Real, and Ivan Penn

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The fires so far have been remarkably less destructive and deadly compared with the last two years, despite winds that were the strongest in a decade. In 2017 and 2018, California experienced the largest, most destructive and deadliest blazes recorded in the state’s long history of wildfires.

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Fire departments have been quicker to order evacuations, and they put more fire crews and aircraft on standby. And some of the fires have burned in areas that have seen blazes in recent years, leaving them without a lot of new fuel — chaparral and shrubs — to burn, said Capt. Tony Imbrenda, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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Never before in California history had a utility deliberately cut power to as many as three million people, which PG&E did Oct. 26 in an attempt to prevent wildfires. It was the second mass blackout in two weeks, angering the governor, lawmakers and residents who were left groping in the dark — many for almost a week.

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[Dry vegetation remains a top concern] in part because a warming atmosphere means potential fuels are drying out more than they would have a century ago, said A. Park Williams, an assistant research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

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