Oct 29, 2019
Just wondering how our California Trainboarders are doing with California burning...
So far we are good but the situation is very unpredictable.
It is, seasonally, very, very dry and the high winds from the east can change things in minutes.
We have another round coming tonight.
Some in our state have been less fortunate which is very sad.
Aside from the very poorly managed power shut-offs we have been relatively good. Though, a few have been less fortunate in various areas of the state. We have had a few fires within 15-20 miles of where I live (just north of Yosemite), almost all of them attributed to transients but there was one that was prevented an observant homeowner.
As for the winds, we have experienced a lot of them up here ranging from 20-35 MPH, the highest I've recorded on my weather station in nearly four years is 21 MPH. Other areas saw much higher than this though, I saw one area recorded a 107 MPH wind speed!
My sister just got her power back (in Marin County) after 4 days. And, may lose it, again, this evening. She is about 40 miles from the Kincade fire.
While all the fires are bad, the reality is that it is the preemptive power shutdowns which have exacerbated the situation, impacting millions more people. Now, have the shut offs actually prevented anything? Who knows.
My former son-in-law sent me photos of the street he and my daughter live(d) on in Santa Clarita, north of LA, several homes burned. His was spared.
I know of only one fire that was possibly prevented by the PSPS, up in Murphys a tree fell through the lines and snapped them. Had they been live it is highly likely a fire would have been caused. Though, the Kincade fire was very likely caused by PG&E *NOT* de-energizing the 230kV transmission lines even though all others in the area were.
He is very lucky, a lot of people have lost everything in all of these fires My cousin lost virtually everything at his property in Paradise last year, including a number of fully restored vehicles from the 50s and 60s (all that was left was a slag pile covering what was left of his garage).
I really was hoping to stay away from the politics of the fires and focus more on the human aspect. More to the point...how are our fellow modelers from California doing ? I pray all of them are safe. Model trains can be replaced...lives can not.
if they cleaned up the brush with all that money they got there would not be any fires. i lived there for a loong time , i finally got out best move ive ever made. i have no mercy on them there. they can clean up all that brush and used to have all the inmates do that job till some numnut decided that was cruel and they had to pay them. ended that program right quick,. pge is smart by cutting power off ,, how many law suits can they endure before they say enough is enough .... ? i can go on an on about this. every thing is politics even our hobby trains. thats why there so expensive dont ya know......
Fortunately where I live (in the city center) the power is only shut down in the perimeter of my city. But some co workers won't have power the entire week so have been gathering camping supplies for them. My cousin in Martinez was evacuated and posted pictures of torched hills from her window. I cycle quite a bit and have had to tone it down due to the high winds and bad air quality trickling in from the north. It was really smokey over the weekend, and the sun is perpetually red in color.
We've lost power twice now but haven't had any issues with the fires being remotely close (TG). Having a well means that a loss of power also means a loss of water...and indoor plumbing (which really sucks). Can't even play with trains when the power is off. No power = no internet, TV, water, phones, etc. Not fun and this is supposed to now be 'the new norm'. Why is it that I can't buy power from whoever I want and get the best price? And why is it that solar doesn't work without the power grid being 'on'.
Without getting political, I have to stop here.
To be truly off the grid with your solar panels, you need to buy the Tesla battery, no? My friend who lives in the Santa Cruz hills made a down payment on one. We'll see how it goes.
Agree with the comment about making power free market style like cell phones.
I've often wondered the same, it is puzzling why a panel that creates power requires power to feed other devices... My parents have solar on their house as well as a propane based generator as backup. They have scheduled for an installer to come in January to upgrade their panels and install a battery array as backup so they don't go "offline" when the grid is down.
Same here, twice the power went off and it really creates havoc. But definitely less havoc than a fire would cause. Likely the biggest headache of all of it is the uncertainty of the situation and the inconsistency in information being given out.
Winds were no joke. Top 30ft fell out of the sky! Glad we were inside!
Yikes! I'm thankful we didn't reach winds that high where I am, but where my previous house is there were some high winds reported (35MPH+).
As a Native of California, some observations. Fire prevention: Clean up and remove the brush and dead trees from the forest. Put in firebreaks, and remove the brush under the power lines. With our own homes remove the brush up next to it. However, when the wind kicks up and fires get moving and spotting... there isn't a thing you can do but be prepared to bug out.
Rick, Everything you mention is 100% correct. There needs to be a more proactive approach taken by all.
Thanks Atani !! Right back at you and the observations you made. Personally: I fear fires over earthquakes and tornadoes. In a fire you can loose everything. A twister can be pretty severe but if prepared you can survive it.
All I can say here is prayers and best wishes to all in the paths of these fires.
There is a lot that can be done to reduce risk from fires like those in California, but it is not cheap. Expecting somebody else to pay for it is not realistic. If you want to live where this can happen, you need to decide how much you are willing to pay and how much risk you are willing to assume in order to save money. It really is the same, whether you are expecting the power company to do things that allow power lines to remain energized, or you put in the equipment yourself to go "off grid" when the power company decides to shut-down the lines that send you the power from somewhere else.
I don't live there, but I have other risks here that are more probable here than fires, so I have thought my way through the "off grid" option. The logic is the same with respect to the fact that the customer is going to have to pay extra to get high reliability for electric power.
A number of years ago I attended a presentation on Capital Hill on fire retardant materials. One was a spray on that was clear and could be applied to roofs that lasted for ten years. Then you simply reapplied it again from a simple pump sprayer. I witnessed a piece of paper that had been coated with it that could not be set on fire with a butane lighter. With products like these and as folks have pointed out good grounds management there is no need to have losses like these.