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report: california officials lacked solid fire alert plan


san francisco — officials in a northern california county were ill-prepared, disorganized and lacked sufficient training when deadly, fast-moving wildfires broke out last october endangering about 100,000 people, according to a report from california emergency managers.sonoma county officials requested the state review after their response time was criticized. the unprecedented wildfires sparked in the early morning and eventually killed 44 people in several counties north of san francisco and destroyed 8,900 buildings. many residents reported finding out about the fires from neighbors or relatives, rather than official alerts.the report, which was released monday by california's office of emergency services, concludes that multiple alert systems in sonoma county, overlapping responsibilit






emergency cellphone alerts didn't go out until after mudslides began in montecit


santa barbara county officials chose not to send an emergency alert to cellphones warning of mudslides until destructive flooding had already begun in montecito, officials said wednesday.the message, similar to an amber alert for abducted children, was sent about 3:50 a.m. tuesday to all registered cellphones in areas that were under voluntary and mandatory evacuations because of heavy rains that threatened mudflows in the wake of the thomas fire, officials said.it’s unclear how many people actually got the alert. but by then, tons of mud, trees, rocks and other debris were rolling down hills that had been burned in the largest fire on record in california. at least 17 people died and more than 100 homes were destroyed.jeff gater, santa barbara county’s emergency manager, said the alert wa






report of major california earthquake was false alarm


los angeles — a report of a major earthquake off the california coast has turned out to be a false alarm based on a quake that happened in 1925.the us geological survey sent out an email alert wednesday afternoon saying a magnitude 6.8 quake had struck in the pacific ocean 10 miles west of santa barbara.the report cause huge ripples on twitter and in newsrooms across the country, but suspiciously no reports of anyone having felt the temblor.usgs geophysicist rafael abreu says researchers were working on the 1925 earthquake when the mistaken alert went out.






emergency alerts from santa barbara county didn't go out until after mudslides b


santa barbara county officials chose not to send an emergency alert to cellphones warning of mudslides until destructive flooding had already begun in montecito, officials said wednesday.the message, similar to an amber alert for abducted children, was sent about 3:50 a.m. tuesday to all registered cellphones in areas that were under voluntary and mandatory evacuations because of heavy rains that threatened mudflows in the wake of the thomas fire, officials said.it’s unclear how many people actually got the alert. but by then, tons of mud, trees, rocks and other debris were rolling down hills that had been burned in the largest fire on record in california. at least 17 people died and more than 100 homes were destroyed in the mudslides.jeff gater, santa barbara county’s emergency manager,






los angeles times


on thursday afternoon, helicopters hauling water dipped into lake casitas, west of california 33, and headed to a fire near the ojai valley. fires dotted the hillsides along california 150. a mix of firefighters in trucks and helicopters worked to extinguish those fires, steering them away from the towns of casitas springs and oak view.since late monday, the thomas fire has burned at least 96,000 acres and 150 structures. fire officials plan to update those numbers, possibly thursday evening.through wednesday night and into thursday, the thomas fire spread significantly around ojai and into the los padres national forest. officials have feared the fire could last for weeks if the area doesn't see any rain and if high winds continue.






report of major california earthquake was false alarm


los angeles (ap) — a report of a major earthquake off the california coast has turned out to be a false alarm based on a quake that happened in 1925.the us geological survey sent out an email alert wednesday afternoon saying a magnitude 6.8 quake had struck in the pacific ocean 10 miles west of santa barbara.the report cause huge ripples on twitter and in newsrooms across the country, but suspiciously no reports of anyone having felt the temblor.usgs geophysicist rafael abreu says researchers were working on the 1925 earthquake when the mistaken alert went out.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.






apnewsbreak: california may face 'significant risk' from dam


san francisco — california is courting a "very significant risk" if a damaged spillway on the nation's tallest dam is not operational by the next rainy season, and the state's plan for the work leaves no time for any delays, a team of safety experts has warned in a report obtained wednesday by the associated press.crews working to repair a crippled spillway on the lake oroville dam will be racing the clock to have the spillway in good enough shape by next fall, according to the report prepared by an independent team of consultants and submitted to federal officials last week.the crews hope to prevent a repeat, or worse, of dramatic events that led to nearly 200,000 people being evacuated last month.repair contracts will have to be awarded by june and workers will have to have the spillway






california may face 'significant risk' from oroville dam


by ellen knickmeyersan francisco (ap) — california is courting a “very significant risk” if a damaged spillway on the nation’s tallest dam is not operational by the next rainy season, and the state’s plan leaves no time for any delays, a team of safety experts has warned in a report obtained wednesday by the associated press.crews working to repair a crippled spillway on the lake oroville dam will be racing the clock to have the spillway in good enough shape by next fall, according to the report prepared by an independent team of consultants and submitted to federal officials last week.the crews hope to prevent a repeat, or worse, of dramatic events that led to nearly 200,000 people being evacuated last month.repair contracts will have to be awarded by june and workers will have to have th






watch helicopters draw water from lake casitas on their way to dousing flames ne


on thursday afternoon, helicopters hauling water dipped into lake casitas, west of california 33, and headed to a fire near the ojai valley. fires dotted the hillsides along california 150. a mix of firefighters in trucks and helicopters worked to extinguish those fires, steering them away from the towns of casitas springs and oak view.since late monday, the thomas fire has burned at least 96,000 acres and 150 structures. fire officials plan to update those numbers, possibly thursday evening.through wednesday night and into thursday, the thomas fire spread significantly around ojai and into the los padres national forest. officials have feared the fire could last for weeks if the area doesn't see any rain and if high winds continue.






'out of control' wildfire sweeps into ventura; 25,000 acres and multiple homes b


a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into the city of ventura early tuesday, burning 25,000 acres, destroying multiple homes and forcing thousands to evacuate.“the fire is still out of control and structures are threatened throughout the fire area,” authorities said in an alert just before 2 a.m. “due to the intensity of the fire, crews are having trouble making access, but there are multiple reports of structures on fire.”the extent of the losses were unclear, but fire officials said there was little they could do stop the flames being pushed by wind gusts of up to 50 mph."the prospects for containment are not good,” ventura county fire chief mark lorenzen at a news conference. “really mother nature is going to decide.”the thomas fire had burned at least 10,000 acres. but fire offici






see how far thomas fire zone would extend in san jose


above: if the perimeter of the 427-square-mile fire were overlaid on the bay area. click here if you can’t see the map on your mobile device.the thomas fire in ventura and santa barbara counties is now the largest wildfire ever recorded in california.on friday, the blaze had scorched 427 square miles (273400 acres) of coastal foothills and national forest, according to the california department of forestry and fire protection. that was 154 acres larger than california’s previous fire record holder, the 2003 cedar fire in san diego county.if the perimeter of the thomas fire were laid over the south end of the san francisco bay area, it would stretch from the ocean to mount hamilton, and from the palo alto baylands to the summit of highway 17.as of sunday, the 20-day-old fire was 70 percent






hazardous materials alert called after man found dead in south side building


a hazardous materials alert was issued as a precaution wednesday morning after a man was found dead in an apartment building in the hyde park neighborhood on the south side, officials said.the alert was called because responders noticed a strong odor after discovering the 25-year-old man in the three-story building in the 1200 block of east 53rd street around 2:30 a.m., according to chicago police and the chicago fire department.when officers arrived to investigate the death, they requested firefighters check the building because of the smell and because items were out of place, according to the fire department.that prompted a level i hazardous materials response from fire crews. the response was elevated to a level ii response as a precaution, and six to eight residents were evacuated.no






spill from overturned truck closes san leandro freeway ramp – the mercury news


san leandro — a sig alert remains in effect after a truck overturned on the i-238 connector ramp to i-880 wednesday morning spilling what was described as a hazardous material, authorities said.exactly what was spilled was not released.the wreck was reported about 11:22 a.m. wednesday on the southbound i-238 connector ramp from northbound interstate 880, the california highway patrol said..a  big rig apparently collided with another vehicle, prompting a trailer being pulled by the truck to overturn on a shoulder, the chp said.there was a report of a brief fire but no injuries were reported.the traffic alert went into effect at 11:38 a.m.  and the entire ramp was shut down, causing a traffic backup. the alert was still in effect as of 1:15 p.m. while investigators and cleanup crews were on






3 firefighters among 4 injured in extra-alarm blaze in logan square


three firefighters and another person were injured in an extra-alarm fire at a home in the logan square neighborhood on the northwest side, officials said.the firefighters suffered heat-related injuries and were taken to advocate illinois masonic medical center, and the other person was taken in serious condition to st. mary hospital but was later taken to stroger hospital, officials said.the fire broke out shortly before 10 a.m. in the 1800 block of north kimball avenue and was quickly raised to a 3-11 alarm, sending extra crews and equipment to the scene.an emergency medical service plan one alert was also called, dispatching at least five ambulances.firefighters battled flames throughout the house, officials said.the fire was reported struck out shortly after 11:20 a.m.






new york city to debut hit-and-run alert system


new york (ap) — new york city officials plan to debut a hit-and-run alert system in the new year.wabc-tv reports the new system will take effect in march. according to officials, the program will function like an amber alert. police say information will be sent to phones across the city in crashes that involve serious or fatal injuries.according to the city council, 4,000 people are critically injured in hit-and-run crashes annually.authorities say they are currently working on logistical issues with the new system.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.___information from: wabc-tv, http://www.7online.com






thomas fire grows to 143,000 acres, 10% contained


the thomas fire, which has burned hundreds of homes in ventura county, has consumed 143,000 acres, officials said friday evening.the fire is 10% contained, and officials said firefighters made solid progress friday as santa ana winds weakened.many evacuations remain in effect.






another spare the air alert issued for mlk day – the mercury news


january 14, 2018, 4:45 pm at 4:04 p.m., firefighters responded to a report of the fire, an oakland fire dispatcher said. sixteen firefighters responded to the zoo, 9777 golf links road, aboard a truck and two engines, oakland fire battalion chief ian mcwhorter said.






3 firefighters among 4 injured in extra-alarm blaze in logan square


three firefighters and another person were injured in an extra-alarm fire at a home in the logan square neighborhood on the northwest side, officials said.the firefighters suffered heat-related injuries and were taken to advocate illinois masonic medical center, and the other person was taken in serious condition to st. mary hospital but was later taken to stroger hospital, officials said.the fire broke out shortly before 10 a.m. in the 1800 block of north kimball avenue and was quickly raised to a 3-11 alarm, sending extra crews and equipment to the scene.an emergency medical service plan one alert was also called, dispatching at least five ambulances.firefighters battled flames throughout the house, officials said.the fire was reported struck out shortly after 11:20 a.m. chicago firefigh






hazardous materials alert called after man found dead in south side building


a hazardous materials alert was issued as a precaution wednesday morning after a man was found dead in an apartment building in the hyde park neighborhood on the south side, officials said.the alert was called because responders noticed a strong odor after discovering the 25-year-old man in the three-story building in the 1200 block of east 53rd street around 2:30 a.m., according to chicago police and the chicago fire department.when officers arrived to investigate the death, they requested firefighters check the building because of the smell and because items were out of place, according to the fire department.that prompted a level i hazardous materials response from fire crews. the response was elevated to a level ii response as a precaution. just before 7 a.m., officials were preparing






amber alert for father who abducted baby son in california


fort tejon, calif. (ap) — an amber alert has been issued in southern california for a father who authorities say has abducted his 2-month-old son and is considered armed and dangerous.the alert says the father and baby were last seen friday afternoon in fort tejon, an area on the grapevine section of interstate 5 about halfway between los angeles and bakersfield.authorities say the suspect is jeffrey michael gomes, a 42-year-old man of asian descent who is 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds.his son is 2-month-old jefferson gomes.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.the amber alert says the two were last seen in a 2007 white chevrolet pickup truck with california license plate 02390p1.






two arrested over deadly oakland, california, ‘ghost ship’ fire


two people have been arrested in connection with a fire at a warehouse in oakland, california, known as the “ghost ship” that killed 36 people during a dance party last year, prosecutors said.the alameda county district attorney’s office scheduled a press conference for later on monday to discuss the arrests of derrick ion almena, 47, and max harris. almena was a manager of the warehouse.on december 2 flames raced through what authorities say was an illegal dance party on the second floor of the sprawling two-story building, which was permitted as a warehouse but leased to an artists’ collective.it was the deadliest blaze in the united states since 100 people perished in a 2003 nightclub fire in rhode island.the 10,000-square-foot (900-square-metre) building lacked sprinklers and smoke det






blaze in northern california grows and destroys 20 homes


san francisco (ap) — fire officials say a wildfire burning near the northern california town of oroville has destroyed 20 homes.the california department of forestry and fire protection says the blaze about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of sacramento had consumed nearly 6 square miles (15 square kilometers). it’s threatening 500 homes.fire crews increased containment to 30 percent overnight ahead of a statewide heat wave.but officials say the fire’s location in steep and rugged terrain plus hot and dry temperatures are complicating firefighters’ efforts.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.more firefighters are joining the more than 1,600 already battling the fire.the blaze is one of many wildfires across the u.s. west, including fires in and around california’s yose






all 23,000 california national guard soldiers and airmen ordered to be on alert


the california national guard is on standby and ready to assist with the oroville emergency, adjutant general david baldwin said during sunday night's press conference. the california national guard put out an alert to all 23,000 of its soldiers and airmen telling them to be “ready to go if needed,” baldwin said. the last time officials sent out such a broad notification was during the 1992 riots in los angeles, he said. the california national guard would deploy eight helicopters to assist with spillway reconstruction; military police would also be deployed to yuba county, baldwin said.






california's school plan fails to win feds' approval


the u.s. department of education has cited substantive flaws in california’s plan detailing how it will improve low-performing schools and use billions of dollars of federal education aid under the federal every student succeeds act.the letter last month to state education officials could initiate lengthy negotiations between federal and state officials over clarifications and technical changes to california’s 100-page funding application. or it could be the first salvo in a fight over irreconcilable differences regarding california’s distinct, holistic approach to school improvement.“it appears this feedback is more extensive than for any other state so far. california tried to ignore vast regions of the every student succeeds act, and the federal government is calling them on it,”  micha






shake-up at california agency after critical dam report


san francisco (ap) — california restructured a key water agency wednesday in the wake of a scathing independent report on last year’s crisis at oroville dam.changes included gov. jerry brown’s administration naming a new director for the department of water resources, the second change of top leadership at the agency since the february crisis at the nation’s tallest dam.both spillways at the dam gave way that month, forcing evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people downstream.a team of national dam-safety experts concluded last week that long-term, systemic failings by officials at the water agency, which operates the dam, and by regulators led water officials to overlook the original design and construction problems that brought on the spillway failures.most read storiesunlimited digita






fire at a homeless encampment sparked bel-air blaze that destroyed homes, offici


the blaze that swept through the hills of bel-air last week, destroying six homes and damaging a dozen others, was sparked by a cooking fire at a homeless encampment in a nearby ravine, los angeles officials said tuesday.the encampment was nestled in a canyon several hundred feet from sepulveda boulevard and the 405 freeway, hidden from passing cars. for several years, it had been home to an unknown number of people, officials said.investigators said the fire had not been set deliberately and they have not found any of the people who lived there. the camp — one of scores of makeshift communities that have grown along freeways, rivers and open space across los angeles — was largely destroyed in the fire, leaving authorities with little evidence.news that one of los angeles’ most affluent ne






all 23,000 california national guard soldiers and airmen ordered to be on alert


during sunday night’s press conference, california national guard adjutant general david baldwin said his department had all of its resources standing by and ready to assist with the oroville emergency. the california national guard put out an alert to all 23,000 of its soldiers and airmen telling them to be “ready to go if needed,” baldwin said. the last time officials sent out such a broad notification was the 1992 riots in los angeles, he said. the california national guard would deploy eight helicopters to assist with spillway reconstruction; military police would also be deployed to yuba county, baldwin said.






amber alert for father who abducted baby son in california


fort tejon, calif. (ap) — an amber alert has been issued in southern california for a father who authorities say has abducted his 2-month-old son and is considered armed and dangerous.the alert says the father and baby were last seen friday afternoon in fort tejon, an area on the grapevine section of interstate 5 about halfway between los angeles and bakersfield. several hours later, there had been no reported sightings of the pair.authorities say the suspect is jeffrey michael gomes, a 42-year-old man of asian descent who is 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds.his son is 2-month-old jefferson gomes.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.the amber alert says the two were last seen in a 2007 white chevrolet pickup truck with california license plate 02390p1.






forecast of higher winds could complicate wildfire fight


ventura, calif. — southern california has felt yellow wind, orange wind, and red wind. but never purple wind. until now.the color-coded system showing the expected strength of the winds driving the region's fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory, pushing past red, which means "high" into the color that means "extreme."the forecast for thursday is purple."we've never used purple before," said ken pimlott, director at the california department of forestry and fire protection.southern california has already been hit hard by three major fires that have put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and destroyed at nearly 200 homes and buildings, a figure that is almost certain to grow.but the hard-won progress of firefighters could be erased thursday. ap gallery: california






3 firefighters among 4 injured in extra-alarm blaze in logan square


three firefighters and another person were injured in an extra-alarm fire at a home in the logan square neighborhood on the northwest side, officials said.the firefighters suffered heat-related injuries and were taken to advocate illinois masonic medical center, and the other person was taken in serious condition to st. mary hospital but was later taken to stroger hospital, officials said.the fire broke out shortly before 10 a.m. in the 1800 block of north kimball avenue and was quickly raised to a 3-11 alarm, sending extra crews and equipment to the scene.an emergency medical service plan one alert was also called, dispatching at least five ambulances.firefighters battled flames throughout the house, officials said.check back for updates.






los angeles times


communities both on the coast and inland were under threat from the thomas fire. at 4 a.m., officials closed the 101 freeway between routes 126 and 150. according to the california highway patrol, that left no open routes between santa barbara and ventura counties.the thomas fire has scorched about 90,000 acres and carved a path of destruction that stretches more than 10 miles from santa paula to the pacific ocean.as flames raged toward neighborhoods in ojai, carpinteria and fillmore, officials issued new evacuation orders in ojai valley, notifying residents with an emergency cellphone alert. authorities said they were helping residents of five assisted-living facilities evacuate, while people at ojai hospital were advised to shelter in place.






why there are no confirmed fire-linked deaths or missing person reports in the t


fire officials said residents in ventura county who quickly obeyed evacuation orders were the main reason why confirmed deaths linked to the fires have been avoided.“it’s not easy to evacuate so many people, especially with a fire moving this fast,” said ventura county fire department spokesman scott quirarte.nearly 27,000 people obeyed the alerts that appeared on their phones and which they received from officials who ordered the evacuation at the start of the thomas fire, quirarte said. “people didn’t wait around. people followed the orders, and there wasn’t any delay.”as of friday, ventura county sheriff's sgt. kevin donoghue said that there are no missing persons reports linked to the fire and that all people initially thought missing have been accounted for.donoghue credits social med






ohio state beefs up response plans after attack


columbus, ohio — ohio state university is beefing up its emergency alert system and streamlining the way officials communicate in a crisis after a november car-and-knife attack exposed some flaws in the text-message procedure.some campus contractors and visitors weren't aware of campuswide "buckeye alerts" to seek shelter during the attack that wounded more than a dozen people, according to the report obtained by the associated press through an open records request.too much time passed between the 10 alerts, which were issued over a period of about seven hours, according to the report by the osu department of public safety. in addition, the initial alerts lacked specifics about the attack, according to the report.the "after action review" also noted that the sheet-covered body of the attac






apnewsbreak: ohio state beefs up response plans after attack


columbus, ohio (ap) — ohio state university is beefing up its emergency alert system and streamlining the way officials communicate in a crisis after a november car-and-knife attack exposed some flaws in the text-message procedure.some campus contractors and visitors weren’t aware of automated campuswide “buckeye alerts” to seek shelter during the attack that wounded more than a dozen people, according to the report obtained by the associated press through an open records request.too much time passed between the 10 automated alerts, which were issued over a period of about seven hours, according to the report by the osu department of public safety. in addition, the initial alerts lacked specifics about the attack, according to the report.the “after action review” also noted that the sheet-






california fires coverage: fires in sonoma and napa counties grow


crew exhaustion, limited resources and turbulent winds complicated the battle against multiple wine country wildfires wednesday, california fire officials said.“there’s no doubt there’s extreme fatigue,” said cal fire’s deputy incident commander in napa, barry biermann. "they are pushing it to the limits. everyone is."napa county's atlas fire has nearly doubled in size to 46,000 acres, whereas the devastating tubbs fire reversed direction and now threatens calistoga, also in napa county. the fire has also caused widespread devastation in sonoma county, where it ran rampant through santa rosa.napa county supervisor diane dillon said cal fire commanders decided in the middle of the night to evacuate nearly half of calistoga's homes.by 3:30 a.m. wednesday, dillon and town officials along with






destructive toll of southern california fire siege comes into focus


the powerful santa ana winds that fueled a five-day fire siege across southern california this week began to ease friday, but the destructive toll of the blazes continued to grow and firefighters will remain on high alert through the weekend.the fires, which stretched from ojai to oceanside, destroyed more than 500 structures and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. the smoke created air quality problems that officials said reached unprecedented levels in some areas.as hot, dry santa anas faded, officials warned that breezes from the ocean could pick up, changing the direction of the flames, placing fire crews at higher risk of getting caught without an escape route.a red flag warning — a combination of extremely low relative humidity and wind speeds that indicates a se






stunning 'firefall' lights up yosemite's el capitan


when the conditions are just right, a glowing orange light that looks like a wall of flowing lava can be seen peeking through yosemite national park’s el capitan.every february, the attraction, known as “firefall,” draws photographers hoping to capture the bright light at horsetail fall.according to park officials, horsetail fall flows during winter and early spring when snow accumulates on top of el capitan.“on sunny afternoons in mid- to late february, the setting sun can cause it to glow orange,” the park service said.as the “sun’s rays hit the waterfall at just the right angle,” the flowing water turns bright red and orange, according to the u.s. department of interior.to catch a glimpse of the rare nature phenomenon, park officials advise just looking east of el capitan.so far, this y