By: Olivia Peleg
Summary: There are often wildfires in California because it has good natural conditions for the flames to begin, but some of the fires may have been man made. The Pacific Gas and Electric company, or PG&E could be the cause of two fires that broke out not 20 miles from San Francisco and Lafayette. The company reportedly cut off power to 2.5 million people and failed to notify at least 23,000 with 500 of them being customers with medical conditions. PG&E did not cut off power to the San Francisco/ Lafayette area because it wasn’t designated as high risk. This left thousands of people without power during one of the worst fire storm in California’s history, and it could take days for staff to inspect the thousands of miles of infrastructure after the wind and fires cease. PG&E then sent out a suggestion to use the time that the power gets turned on to prepare for more power outages, because there were more precautionary power shut-offs to come.
Many of the locals mention how they are scarred from the fire that happened in 2017 that caused great devastation. They discuss having PTSD symptoms with the knowledge that there is another record-breaking fire, and many people who have lived in the area for 50+ years say they have witnessed many fires in the years, but none as bad as this.
PG&E are refusing to take the blame for this flaming outbreak, but they do say they are conducting an internal investigation. Later, PG&E give a statement that their results are inconclusive, so they still refrain from taking the blame for the start of the fire.
Why we should care? We should care about this topic because of how many people this affects. PG&E supplies power to more than just the areas affected by the wind/fire storms, but to stay on the safe side, companies with shut off the electricity to more people than is necessary.
Example News Article:
I found this particular article interesting because it talked about PG&E and how they are trying to work on fixing the problem, and I liked how they talked about the customers of the company who were victimized. The article didn’t just talk about the fire and the wind being an issue, it discussed another issue of the fire winds that I probably would not have thought of had I not have chosen this topic to research. It definitely brings light to an issue that now needs to be resolved in areas that are more prone to wildfires. This gives us as human beings the opportunity to push for different forms of energy that are safer for the environment that we live in.
Science in Action.
Dr. Mike Flannigan is a Professor in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta.
Flannigan, along with his colleagues, researched the impact of climate change on fire weather severity. He found that at the rate forests are burning now, there will be a 74% - 188% increase in wildfires within the next century. This data that he collected is good for the argument of fighting climate change and pushing for more safe and sustainable energy sources. Flannigan does much of his research in Canada and estimates that fire season length in Canada is expected to increase by 22%. And this isn’t even an environment known for its wildfires! This suggests that there will be astounding increases in fire seasons in places like California.