News & Crime Watch

Fires Rage In Northern California & Thousand Oaks & PG&E Cancels Power Shutoffs

Fires Rage In Northern California

According to Cal Fire Captain Scott McLean, the wildfire in Northern California is spreading rapidly. “Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind of devastation. The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out. ”

According to Cal Fire, the Camp Fire in Butte County, northwest of San Francisco began around 6:30 am on Thursday. The fire is has now consumed over 8,000 acres of land. Paradise, with it’s population of over 26,000 is now completely unrecognizable.

With raging infernos, over 20,000 people have evacuated the area in Paradise, Concow, Magalia, Butte Creek Canyon, and Butte Valley. It is not immediately known how many fatalities have occurred as a result of the wildfires. At 3 p.m. on Thursday, Acting Governor and California Governor elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency.

It is reported that around 60-70 people were trapped at a Walgreen’s in Paradise. Fire crews successfully got them out. With mandatory evacuations in place, people have been warned to vacate the area and not to try to return to homes to retrieve belongings.

According to the Butte County Sheriff, the Butte County website is non-functional.

Mandatory Evacuations

  • “The area of Highway 70 from Concow South, including all of Yankee Hill on both sides of 70.”
  • “The area of Pentz and 70 South to 149, including Butte College.”
  • Butte Creek, Centervill, Pulga, Paradise, and Concow.
  • “The South Pine Zone, Old Magalia Zone, and South Coutelenc Zone.”
  • “Carnegie Zone, North Pines Zone, North Fir Haven Zone and South Fir Haven Zone.”

Evacuation Centers

  • Butte County Fairgrounds (199 E Hazel Street, Gridley)
  • The Neighborhood Church (2801 Notre Dame Boulevard, Chico)
  • Oroville Nazarene Church (2238 Monte Vista Avenue, Oroville)

Residents are advised to adhere to evacuation orders and not put their lives at risk. If you do not have place to go, you will be welcomed at an evacuation center.

Here are some scenes of the fire still in progress from Instagram account fireman_323:

Fires Rage In Thousand Oaks

In Ventura County, the Santa Ana winds carried another wildfire in Southern California near the Thousand Oaks area. Thousand Oaks residents have been ordered to evacuate. Many celebrities, including Kim Kardashian are  reported to have evacuated Thousand Oaks.

The Hill Fire is the largest of the two blazes, charring at least 10,000 acres since igniting in the area of Hill Canyon on Thursday afternoon. It is burning in the same area as the Springs Fire from 2013, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. In 2013, this same area was also devastated by another wildfire.

The second fire, the Woosley Fire, south of Simi Valley, rapidly spread on Thursday night. It burned approximately 8,000 acres as of early Friday morning according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.  The Woosley Fire has forced the evacuation of Oak Park and it’s approximately 14,000 residents. The Woolsey Fire has burned multiple structures and forced the evacuation of all of Oak Park, a town of nearly 14,000 people. Over 30,000 homes are affected.

Consquently, Thousand Oaks residents are already reeling from a shooting at a bar which left 13 people dead, including the suspected gunman, not even 24 hours prior to the commencement of the wildfires.

David Long, a former Marine reported suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, killed 12 others during college night at Borderland Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

Important to note, the Ventura County Fire Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department warn people to adhere to mandatory evacuation warnings.

Mandatory Evacuations

Woolsey Fire

  • All of Oak Park
  • Bell Canyon: Saddlebow Road between Maverick Lane and Morgan Road
  • Thousand Oaks Blvd. north to Sunset Hills, from Oak Park west to Highway 23
  • South of Bard Lake, east of Highway 23
  • West of Highway 23 – south of E. Olsen Road, north of Pederson Rd.
  • South of Highway 101, east of Reino Rd., north of Potrero Rd., east to the L.A./Ventura County line
  • Westlake Village

Hill Fire

  • Point Mugu Naval Base
  • Camarillo Springs
  • Vallecito Trailer Park
  • California State University Channel Islands
  • Dos Vientos neighborhood

Evacuation Centers

  • Borchard Community Center, 190 North Reino Road, Newbury Park
  • Community Center Park, 1605 Burnley St., Camarillo
  • Rancho Santa Susana Community Center, 5005 East Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley
  • Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills
  • Taft Charter, 5461 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills
  • Thousand Oaks Teen Center, 1375 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, 91362

Road Closures

  • Potrero Rd. is closed between Rancho Dos Vientos and S. Lewis Rd.
  • Highway 101 southbound is closed between Wendy Dr. and Lewis Rd.
  • Highway 118 eastbound is closed east of Kuehner Dr. (Simi Valley)
  • Highway 118 eastbound, offramp at Yosemite Ave. is closed
  • Highway 101 northbound is now open

CLICK TO SEE WHERE THE HILL FIRE IS BURNING 

 

PGE Cancels Shutoffs

Smoke has affected many counties including Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sonoma and Yuba. PGE initially said they would consider shutting off power in these counties. Our communication with Leslie, a PG & E Spokeswoman late on Thursday, indicates that PG&E has cancelled its plans for Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The shutoffs could have affected more than 70,000 customers, including many in our area.

Previously, PG&E notified customers in Northern California of a power shutoff, after weather warnings from the National Weather Service.

Later, customers received notice that power shutoff plans were canceled.

Senior vice president of Electric Operations Pat Hogan thanked customers for their understanding, as well as for “their actions in preparation of a possible Public Safety Power Shutoff.”

“We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we will only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety and as a last resort”, Hogan added.

A Public Safety Power Shutoff is a safety step especially useful in cases of wildfires. PG&E says they are done to help reduce risk.

Public Safety Power Shutoffs

There are three steps in the process of notifying customers in an Public Safety Power Shutoff. The first is advance notice. The second notice is during the outage. The third notice happens once power is restored.

PG&E uses phone calls, emails and text message to notify customers. Furthermore, you do not have to opt in to the notices if you are a PG&E customer. Also, you cannot opt-out of the early warning notices. However, you do have the option to opt out of the other alerts.

The company is able to send final advance warning of a power shutoff at any time of day or night. Other notices can only be sent between 9:00am and 9:00pm.

In the case of a shutoff, power can be out for several days.

Staying Safe

Although PG&E cancelled this power shutoffs, the company asks that customers have an emergency plan of action. Included in your plan should personal safety plans for family and pets, exit routes, and cash.

Also, review the High Fire-Threat District map to learn if your home or business is at risk. This is a public resource made available by the California Public Utilities Commission.

In addition, visit pge.com/wildfiresafety to learn more about Public Safety Power Shutoffs. 

California Public Utilities Commission’s High Fire-Threat District map: ia.cpuc.ca.gov/firemap/


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