Search results for: 'fires'

  • Washington Wildfire Burned more than 300 Homes

    The largest recorded wildfire in Washington state history that began on July 14th, 2014 has now scorched about 400 square miles of land. And as of August 4th, 2014 the file was only 90% contained.

    On July 28th, USA today reported, “the fire has destroyed at least 312 homes…and is blamed for the death of a man trying to protect his home. At its peak, it sent a huge plume of smoke drifting east across the United States.”

    In an assessment of the damage released by Yahoo News, Washington Governor Jay Inslee extended the pre-existing burn ban in the eastern part of the state for another week to avoid further damage.

    Governor Inslee acknowledges that even though fire crews have made great progress in containing the fire, “weather conditions are still a concern” that may extend the fire’s life. So the Washington wildfire could continue to blaze on.

    On Tuesday, July 29th fire managers released a map showing the fire’s growth since July 14th. The map shows that four separate lightning strikes created four burns that merged to create a massive wildfire. Check out the map at USA Today.com.

    1406580494000-Carletonmap

     

    According to fire-fighting officials, massive wildfires like this (and the one currently blazing in eastern Oregon) are becoming the norm. Wildfires are now burning hotter and longer than they were more than a decade ago.

    Since wildfires have been popping up all over the western US this summer, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones during wildfire season. Check out these Ready.gov tips  to help you prepare.

     

    For more info on the Washington Wildfire, check out these articles:

    New Map Shows How Record Washington Wildfire Grew

    Sheriff: 300 Homes Burned in Washington Wildfire

    Longer, Hotter Northwest Fire Seasons are New ‘Normal’

    Bear Cub Burned in Washington Wildfire Flown to California Wildlife Care Center

     

    If you’ve ever lived through a wildfire, what tips would you suggest for protecting your home and staying safe during a wildfire? If you haven’t, what steps are you taking to prepare, just in case?

     

    -Angela

     

    Sources

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/aug/05/wildfire-burns-homes-near-ellensburg/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: wildfire, wildfire season

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to know this week

    An overhead shot of the California wildfire from July 18th

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of July 14th-18th :

    1. Typhoon Rammasun Impacts the Phillippines

    Typhoon Rammasun pummeled the shores of Manila on Tuesday, July 15th. After experiencing the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan last year, hundreds of thousands of residents fled to higher ground and worked to shore up their weakened homes in anticipation of more severe storms. Read the full story from Foxnews.com.

    2. California Considers Setting Mandatory Water Curbs

    As a result of the three-year drought impacting California and other states in the West, California lawmakers are considering creating mandatory state-wide water restrictions for the first time during the drought. You’ll be surprised by how much the proposed out-of-pocket fine is for using your sprinkler in California...Check out the full story at foxnews.com.

    3. Chemical Leak Near Thailand’s Eastern Seaport Sickens Nearly 100

    On Thursday, July 17, at least 94 people were exposed to a chemical leak from a ship docked in Bangkok, Thailand. Residents were asked to evacuate the area and to seek medical attention.  Read more about this chemical leak from CBS News. But this is not the first time Thailand has been in the news this summer, read  about the recent political unrest and disaster scenarios people are preparing for in Thailand in our article, “Thailand Natural, and not so Natural Disasters.”

    4. Washington State Wildfires is so Massive it Creates Mushroom-Like Cloud

    Low humidity and 100 degree temperatures have created the perfect conditions for wildfires and large, billowing smoke clouds this week in Washington State. By July 18th, at least 100 homes had been burned. Emergency crews closed sections of U.S. 2 and other main roads across the state. Residents in Leavenworth, WA were asked to evacuate as ash rained from the sky. Read more from the New York Daily News and NBC News.

    5. Scientists identify Mt. Rainer’s volcanic center in detailed photographs

    According to the Science World Report, “Scientists are getting a closer look at Mount Rainier's volcanic plumbing. By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, researchers have made a detailed picture of what happens deep beneath the surface of the mountain.” Learning more about this volcano's internal plumbing helps us better predict and prepare for future eruptions. Check out the rest of the story at scienceworldreport.com.

     

    --Angela 

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    We’ve talked a lot this year about the destructive drought choking the western US. And while California gets most of the attention (check out UNL’s drought monitor and their frighteningly visual perspective on California’s situation), other states are suffering, as well. In fact, the drop in a single reservoir is affecting residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah—and California! This headline from the Daily Mail sums up the dangerous situation:

    “Satellite images reveal mud-choked Lake Powell is LESS than half full and has hit a record low as the Western drought continues to strain major reservoirs”

    The article, which features a chilling image gallery of the barely recognizable vacation spot, reports that Lake Powell currently sits at 42% of its capacity, with experts estimating that this year’s snowmelt will only bring it up to about 51%. And it’s not just bad news for boaters. The man-made reservoir serves as a source of drinking water for 20 million people living across the west, and the Glen Canyon dam that regulates the reservoir provides hydroelectric power to the area.

    While forecasters predict a cool, wet “El Niño” year for 2014, Eric Holthaus over at Slate.com explains why that won’t be enough to recover from this decade-plus long dry spell in his article, “What Does El Niño Mean For Me?”. With no end in sight, then, how can we…er…weather this storm?

    For ideas on ways to prepare against the effects of severe drought, check out these helpful posts:

    And for a recap of this year’s drought and its unexpected effects, read here:

     

    What are you doing differently this year because of the drought?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • California's Fire Season

    During the few years I spent down in Orange County, CA, I didn’t so much miss the seasons, but I just had to get used to a different set of seasons. Fog season. High surf season. Ugg boots season. And fire season.

    If you’ve never lived through a summer-to-fall in Southern California, it’s hard to describe the brittle dryness of the air; the hot, dusty Santa Ana winds; the sinister orange tint of the sky; or the sharp burn in your throat as ash settles like cottonwood on cars and lawns. Wildfire season is unpleasant at best, and downright scary for those who live in the driest swaths. And California’s worst dry spell in recorded history is making that danger a reality for more and more residents.

    In mid-June, this report surfaced: “California Wildfire Threatens 1,000 More Homes Near Sequoia National Park.” While no injuries or fatalities were logged in relation to this fire, it swallowed three homes and was very hard to contain. Turns out the combination of heat, wind, and acres of brush sucked dry as tinder is exactly what a fire like this needed to grow to disastrous proportions.

    We’ve been watching California’s fires particularly closely this year. For a re-cap, check out our previous posts, “California Wildfires Spread Due to Drought Conditions,” and “Wildfires Plague Southern California.” And whether or not you live within blaze territory, it’s smart to know your wildfire safety. Here are some of our favorite resources:

    • FEMA’s US Fire Administration page has all sorts of free, downloadable materials on wildfire awareness and preparation.
    • We really like Ready.gov’s tip list for what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
    • The Wildfire Preparedness page from the American Red Cross is organized similarly, and includes guidelines on rebuilding after fire damage.
    • Readyforwildfire.org has fantastic interactive information, video tutorials, links to action plan and emergency kit checklists, and a live Twitter feed from Cal Fire.
    • Everybody’s favorite furry forest ranger, Smokey the Bear, has a whole tab full of games and teaching tools for children and families at SmokeyBear.com/kids.

     

    What are you doing during the dry season to prepare?

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Fire Safety, wildfire, fire season

  • The Effects of California's Driest Year

    This post is the second installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. Check out Part One of the series: "California Drought: Four Months in Review

    For the last three to four years, drought conditions have spread all across the western US, but recently, California has been hit the hardest, facing dry temperatures and withered land. The following infographic from Drought Monitor shows you just how dry (and as a result, at risk for fires) certain areas of California are. 100% of the state of California is now in “severe” to exceptional drought.

    California Drought Monitor

    Conservation Mode

    The state is in emergency water conservation mode until further notice. According to Kathleen Miles from the Huffington Post, Governor Brown has advised residents to cut their water use by 20%. Homeowners who don’t promptly fix leaks have been fined by city governments.

    Coin-operated car washes must only use recycled water. Restaurants and private citizens are encouraged to use paper plates and cups, and water is served in restaurants only upon customer request. Newly-constructed swimming pools may not be filled. Earlier in the year, cities were squabbling over who gets how much water; and in Mendocino County, the sheriff’s office is keeping a close eye out for water thieves who try to pump water from Lake Mendocino into trucks and haul it away to sell or use.

    According to a Huffington Post article from May 16th, 40 city employees in Sacramento have even been “re-designated as ‘water cops’ tasked with reporting and responding to wasteful maintenance.”

    Industry Affected

    Tourism is also adversely affected. California’s ski industry struggled all winter for the lack of snow. Fishing has been banned in several rivers to protect drought-stricken salmon and steelhead trout that may be in danger of extinction if the drought continues. The wine industry is also suffering, with grapes growing slowly and ripening before they’ve reached mature size.

    Wildfires Increase

    California is especially vulnerable to wildfires during times of drought. On average, 69 fires are reported monthly during normal conditions; however, just from January 1 to January 25 of this year, 406 wildfires were reported. The California wildfire season typically occurs during the summer and fall, but the drought has caused wildfires to become an all-year-round occurrence.

    According to the National Journal, as of May 15th “brush fires in California had burned nearly 10,000 acres, destroyed 30 homes, threatened multiple military facilities, and forced thousands to evacuate.” The state has also faced a series of heat waves, with highs between 98 and 106 degrees F that are not helping the situation.

     

    These drought conditions are severely taking a toll on daily life in California and other areas in the west. Check out our Insight Articles to help you conserve water in the future by building up your own water storage supply today:

    Tomorrow, check out Part III of our California Drought Series  "California Drought: the Impact on Farming and Produce"

    -Sharon, Kim, and Angela

    Photo Courtesy of the United States Drought Monitor

    Editor's Note:  Correction to a statement made in an earlier version of this article. Lawn watering and car washing has not yet been banned in California. Watering has been reduced to two days a week and car washing has not been reduced yet. Residents are asked not to water sidewalks in an effort to conserve water.

     

    Sources:

    www.blogs.usda.gov/2012/08/10/us-drought-and-your-food-costs

    www.theundergroundsite.com/california-drought-could-impact-world-food-prices

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/california-drought-effects-500-years_n_4647529.html

    www.trippapparel.com/2014/18697

    www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Feature/LakeMead

    www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/14/obama-california-drought-aid-vilsack/5479121

    www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/us/politics/obama-to-announce-aid-for-drought-racked-california.html?r=0

    www.westernfarmpress.com/blog/obama-administration-misses-boat-drought-assistance

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/california-drought_n_5340596.html

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/california-s-wildfire-season-has-ravaged-nearly-10-000-acres-so-far-20140515

    http://www.capradio.org/articles/2014/02/06/drought-forces-broadest-fishing-ban-in-state-coho-at-risk-of-extinction/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, drought, California Drought

  • California Drought: Four Months in Review

    This post is the first installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. 

    All the western states, including California, are naturally subject to periods of drought. But according to B. Lynn Ingram, University of California Earth Science professor, a study of tree rings shows California’s current drought to be the most severe in the last 500 years.

    Not only did California receive zero rainfall this January (normally the rainiest month of the year), recent past conditions have illustrated the decline in moisture. In 2013, California received a total of 7 inches of rain; the average yearly total is 22 inches. The Sierra snowpack, which gives California 1/3 of its water, was 88% below normal as of January 30, 2013.

    In early 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the state a “primary natural disaster area,” and President Obama announced over $190 million in drought aid. With almost twice as many fires and acres burned between January and March of this year than last year, California needed more than light rain and overcast skies to pull them from this drought. Unfortunately, over four months later, California has not seen the type of precipitation to pull them out of the drought and reduce wildfires in the state.

    The lack of rain over the past few months has led some, such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to alert cities and companies that only 80 percent of requested treated drinking water will be provided for the rest of the year. The companies and cities losing this water typically provide it for about 1.5 million people. However, it’s not only thirsty cities receiving less treated drinking water, but irrigated farmlands are forced to turn to alternate sources of water such as wells.

    During our lifetimes, we’ve become accustomed to California being the garden of the nation, producing nearly half of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables for the whole country. The sight of fallow fields, blowing dust, or browned seedlings failing in the heat is an image we associate more with the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma back in the 1930s than with California. But that may not be the case this year unless there’s a significant change in the weather.

    National Journal reporter, Marina Koren, believes that in order “to break its historic drought, California would need to see 9 to 15 inches of precipitation in one month. That’s more than half a year’s worth of average rainfall for the state.” This lack of precipitation for the state has created water restrictions.

    A water restriction for both irrigation and drinking (whether due to drought, a chemical spill, or another emergency) is a great reason to keep your [water storage] up to date. Check out these articles to learn more about the importance of water storage:

     

    -Sharon, Kim, and Angela

    Come back in the next couple of days to check out the rest of our California Drought Series:

    Part II “The Effects of CA's Driest Year"

    Part III "How does  the CA Drought Effect your Grocery List?"

     

    Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post via the Associated Press

    Sources:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25411117/california-drought-silicon-valley-cities-and-farms-hit

    http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_stats

    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=california&MR=1

    www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/14/obama-california-drought-aid-vilsack/5479121

    www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/us/politics/obama-to-announce-aid-for-drought-racked-california.html?r=0

    www.westernfarmpress.com/blog/obama-administration-misses-boat-drought-assistance

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, drought, California Drought

  • Wildfires Plague Southern California

    This week has been a scorcher in Southern California, no thanks to extreme drought conditions and the familiar Santa Ana winds. Those two factors unfortunately created the perfect storm for wildfires to burn like crazy in several areas Tuesday, Wednesday, and likely into Thursday.

    More than 11,000 Carlsbad residents and 20,000 in and around San Diego were asked to evacuate—though most of the San Diego evacuees have been allowed to return home.

    Hundreds of firefighters have been working to control these blazes—and, luckily, only two minor injuries have been reported among them. Many will work through the night tonight to keep up containment efforts.

    Read the rest of the article at FoxNews.com.

     

    Would you be ready to evacuate within minutes if you received a notice from the Fire Department? Learn how you can be evacuation-ready:

    "Evacuation Plan

    "Evacuating from Home in an Emergency

     

    Prepare yourself and your home for wildfires with these tips:

    "Emergency Fire Safety

    "Fire Season Safety Preparedness Tips

     

    --Urban Girl

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • 5 Ways to Start a Fire with Water

    A crucial skill to have in practically any emergency situation is knowing how to build a fire. Whether you get lost overnight on a ski trip or your car runs out of gas as you pack up to leave your campsite, knowing how to build a fire and stay warm could save your life.

    So what’s the best way to build a fire? “Building” a fire typically comes in three stages: gather the materials, lay the fire, and then start it. Check out our Insight Article to learn “How to Build a Fire” using these three stages.

    However, in an emergency situation, there’s one other item that could actually help you start a fire that many overlook—water. It’s true. Grant Thompson, from thekingofrandom.com, shows five ways you can start a fire using water. Check it out:

    There you have it: five ways water can start a fire. Four of Thompson’s five fire starting methods show you how to use water as a magnifying glass to spark a fire, letting the power of the sun do all the work (or at least a lot of it!). But e But B ven if there’s cloud cover, you aren’t out of luck. With just a few supplies you can still ignite a fire in seconds.

    If you plan to use water to help you start a fire in an emergency, make sure to add the following supplies to your emergency gear so you are completely prepared.

    Method 5:

    • A light bulb. Make sure your bulb has been rinsed and cleaned according to Thompson’s directions. Cushion the bulb with fabric, grocery sacks, or other forms of padding to keep it from breaking and place it in a small container before you put it in your emergency supplies.
    • A balloon to cap off the end of the light bulb after you’ve filled it with water

    Method 4

    • Plastic wrap
    • A bowl

    Method 3

    • Plastic wrap
    • A picture frame

    *For this method, make sure you have a way to securely attach the plastic wrap to the frame and to heat water.

    Method 2

    • A juice bottle (that looks like a bubble) filled with water

    Method 1

    • Toilet paper
    • Toilet paper roll
    • Small chunks of sodium
    • Jar lid

     

    Caution! Playing with fires is dangerous so make sure to have proper safety gear (a fire extinguisher, goggles, and leather gloves) with you when practicing these new ways to start a fire. Also, make sure to light fires in a cleared area away from flammable objects or dry grass.

    These are some fun, unique methods you can use to start a fire, but don’t forget about the traditional methods as well. Adding items such as the Sparkie, the P-25 Strike Master or FiredUp! firestarters to your emergency supplies are reliable ways to get a roaring fire and warmth fast. (Or, taking a hint from Thompson, how about a magnifying glass?)

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCyHC7lnMyQ

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency preparedness, fire, fire starting

  • 5 Ways to Heat your MRE

    |7 COMMENT(S)

    The MRE Side Dish Combo includes a variety of delicious sides to eat on the go.

    On a campout, on-the-go, or in an emergency, Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) are a great way to get the nutrition and energy you need while you’re away from home. MRE’s are great because you can eat them absolutely any way you want.

    MREs are pre-cooked meals making them safe to eat straight from the package—warm or cold.

    But if you’re just not into eating your food cold (when you’ve got the choice), here are five ways you can heat up your MRE to satisfy your taste buds.

    Five Ways to Heat an MRE

    • Use an MRE Heater. MRE heaters are a great way to safely and quickly warm up your Sloppy Joe, Turkey Chili, or other favorite MRE without fire. This is an ideal method to use when you’re trying to warm up your meal in an area where fires are prohibited and it’s great to have in an emergency.
    • Boil it. If you have gear with you, say, on a camping adventure, you can boil water using your camp stove. Once the water is boiling, insert the MRE (removed from its cardboard casing) into the water.
    • Use the power of the sun. If you don’t have an MRE heater and it’s daytime, a great way to heat your MRE is using the sun. Lay your MRE (outside of the cardboard casing) on a rock facing the sun (the darker the rock, the hotter it will get). This definitely isn't the quickest route to heating your meal, but it doesn't require you to carry any additional gear.
    • Lay it on your car engine. If you’re on an outdoor adventure or have left in an emergency with your vehicle, you can use your car engine to heat up the MRE. Make sure to remove the outer cardboard casing before laying the MRE on your warm engine.
    • Build a fire. Just like you cook other foods on camp outs, MREs can be heated by the blaze of a fire. Set the MRE (after having removed the outer cardboard casing) next to the fire pit on the grate, a rock, or just on the lip of the fire pit. If you’re not an expert on campfires, check out our Insight Article “How to Build a Fire” so you can be.

    Do you typically heat your MREs? What’s your favorite method?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, MRE, emergency cooking

  •  When Disaster Hits Home--A Disaster Preparedness Guide

    Home fires, downed power lines, and winter weather can be just as deadly as earthquakes and tornadoes. It’s important to prepare for natural disasters, but our NEW Disaster Preparedness Guide, “When Disaster Hits Home” is a great reminder to be ready for any crisis that may strike—big or small.

    We’ve teamed up with the Deseret News to create this free guide to help our customers and readers confidently answer the question: Am I prepared for the unexpected?“When Disaster Hits Home” can teach you and your family how to prepare for the unexpected in several ways. It includes helpful hints on how to …

    • Stay safe and prevent home fires
    • Prepare for floods (did you know floods are the most common natural disaster?)
    • Get the entire family involved in preparedness (It even includes a preparedness activity sheet for kids)
    • Build an emergency kit for school, work, home, cars, and pets
    • Survive in your car in freezing temperatures
    • Provide the basics of survival (food, water, shelter, and warmth) during an emergency

    This 12-page feature is a great resource for getting prepared whether you’re a seasoned prepper or new to emergency preparedness. “When Disaster Hits Home” will teach you things you may not have known about preparation, and statistics about natural disasters and unexpected emergencies that happen in the U.S. It even offers personal stories from people who have lived through unexpected disasters.

    Check out our new Disaster Preparedness Guide, “When Disaster Hits Home” online or, if you live in Utah, you can pick up a printed copy at one of our stores.  The demand for printed copies of our Disaster Guide was so high that we no longer have printed copies. If you would like to  print or download a copy, you can go to  http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/16e9a228#/16e9a228/ and print a copy to put in your emergency supplies.  It’s totally free and full to the brim with great info.

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency kit, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness, natural disaster

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