Fire Season Update #2: August 2020 in Review

fire season august 2020

The third week of August served as a wakeup call to Mother Nature’s awesome power. A siege of more than 12,000 lightning strikes ripped through the state, touching off wildfires particularly in Northern California.

The numbers are gruesome. CAL FIRE is currently tracking three wildfire groupings covering close to 700,000 acres.

  • The CZU Lightning Complex around the Santa Cruz Mountains is 56% contained as of this writing and caused the evacuation of the UC Santa Cruz campus.
  • The SCU Lightning Complex, the second largest fire in California history, encompasses twenty fires east of Silicon Valley. It is currently 82% contained.
  • The LNU Lightning Complex, already the third largest fire in California history, covers over 375,000 acres, threatens the city of Vacaville. The fires there are 87% contained.

Despite the drama played out by Mother Nature, her lightning accounts for only 6% of wildfires. Human nature triggers by far most of the state’s wildfires.

In a previous investigation of the ten largest California wildfires, The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection cited human action as the cause of 69% of the worst fires. “Undetermined” accounted for the remaining 25%.

Debris burning, campfires, arson, equipment failures and any number of human actions light off fires. Even tossed cigarettes or matches! Seriously? Who tosses matches?

Whatever the cause, wildfires paired with PG&E shutdowns and a struggling electric grid all should blare a loud alarm to anyone relying on backup generator power.

Loss of power is inevitable, failure to back up power is inexcusable. Is your organization ready?

While focused on wildfires, keep an eye on PG&E scheduled power shutdowns. As we noted in our last post, it is vital to register your contact information with PG&E. Their communication on grid actions has proven trustworthy. They tell us upfront what areas will lose power, when, and for how long. If you are not registered on their site here, you will be left in the dark.

Hopefully, you have a plan to cope with fires and shutdowns. Pull the plan down from the shelf, dust it off and review it with an eye toward revisions necessitated by the remote staffing you put in place to counter COVID-19. Workers operating from home need access to the plan. Key people in your organization should register their home contact info on the PG&E site.

Act Now on Back-up Power

  • MAINTENANCE. We’re the largest independently owned generator service company in Northern California. We have assembled a ReMarkable team of over 25 certified technicians.
  • RENTAL. If you see backup power as a temporary issue, CD & Power has the inventory to fill your needs. We offer over 100 portable generators ranging from 10 kW to 1 MW, including innovative hybrid solar trailers. Many are already reserved, so call soon if you anticipate needing to rent a generator. We also provide the ancillary equipment you’ll need to get up and running fast.

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