Fresh wildfires erupted on Monday near Los Angeles and chased people from their suburban homes as an intense heatwave stretching from the West Coast to New Mexico blistered the region.
Towering columns of smoke rose from the San Gabriel Mountains as two fires a few miles apart devoured brush on steep slopes above foothill suburbs, sending a dark pall into the sky above the Los Angeles skyline.
Police in the city of Azusa and parts of Duarte ordered hundreds of homes evacuated. Others were under voluntary evacuations.
"It's crazy. It's super close," said 17-year-old Tawni Atencio, whose family was evacuating their home in Bradbury.
The two fires had grown to a combined 5 square miles.
The first was sparked by a fatal car crash, the California Highway Patrol said.
The second was much closer to foothill neighbourhoods and brought quick evacuations. Its cause has not been found.
"We immediately had homes under threat," said John Tripp, Los Angeles county deputy chief. But then the fire immediately started burning away from the homes, toward the forest.
"That was extremely fortunate for us," he said.
A nighttime change in wind direction, however, could return serious danger in a hurry, he added.
Officials had warned of extreme fire danger in the region as the heat peaked. Temperatures surpassed 100 degrees across much of Southern California well before noon, while some desert cities sizzled in the 120s.
The entire Los Angeles metropolitan area and most of Southern California can expect blackouts this summer.
The power grid is under direct threat as a result of the unprecedented, but little reported, massive natural gas leaks at Alisco Canyon that was ongoing for four months as an intense summer heat wave sets in.
According to Reuters:
California will have its first test of plans to keep the lights on this summer…With record-setting heat and air conditioning demand expected in Southern California, the state’s power grid operator issued a so-called “flex alert,” urging consumers to conserve energy to help prevent rotating power outages – which could occur regardless.
Electricity demand is expected to rise during the unseasonable heatwave on Monday and Tuesday, with forecast system-wide use expected to top 45,000 megawatts, said the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages electricity flow through the state. That compares with a peak demand of 47,358 MW last year and the all-time high of 50,270 MW set in July 2006.
That could put stress on the power grid, particularly with the shut-in of Aliso Canyon, following a massive leak at the underground storage facility in October [Editor’s Note: which was not stopped fully until mid-February 2016].
As summer demand for electricity to cool homes and businesses kicks into high gear, power plants are planning to shut down, with supply shortages triggering controlled blackouts and brownouts.
Reports say that “all customers” should expect to be without power a total 14 days – 2 weeks time – out of this summer. Some 21 million Californians stand to be directly affected:
All customers, including homes, hospitals, oil refineries and airports are at risk of losing power at some point this summer because a majority of electric generating stations in California use gas as their primary fuel. In April, millions of electric customers in Southern California were warned they could suffer power outages on up to 14 days this summer due to the closure.
Planned rolling brownouts have been done on a regular basis in Southern California since the days of Enron and the California energy crisis of 200o-2001, but the situation is getting more dire.
As demand spikes, customers can expect to pay more for electricity, even as supplies threaten to be cut off, leaving families, residents and businesses in the dark.
All this, as California’s historic drought problems continue to plague the state and restrict available services.
Of course, there is plenty of room for unplanned blackouts as well, as an increasingly vulnerable power grid nears the perfect conditions for a grid down scenario.
In the worst case scenario, these massive power outages, particularly if they are sustained for longer periods (authorities estimate up to 2 weeks without electricity is likely, though not necessarily in consecutive days), could interrupt other vital services – including grocery deliveries, water, gasoline at the pumps, and even communications.
The larger question is whether or not they want the grid to fail.
It is simple economic fact that the power companies stand to make more money of a power shortages during a crisis than they do during abundant and cheap energy.
Homeland Security and other government agencies have been preparing in secret for a grid disaster for several years now.
Former DHS secretary Janet Napolitano ominously warned ahead of the Grid Ex II multi-agency drill that an unprecedented collapse of the power grid is imminent, and could result from a cyber attack, an EMP or a massive natural disaster:
If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity and food delivery are only the first wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems with civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season.
It seems that it is a matter of when, not if.
That’s why having an off-grid, alternative source of energy is essential for any prepper or level-headed individual, though many communities are now discouraging solar by requiring that it be connected to the grid and regulated by energy companies.
At a minimum, with an admitted potential for two weeks with the light out, you should have a one month supply of food for your family, as well as basic emergency supplies (including candles, flashlights, batteries and other light sources).
Two more southern California fires sprung up on Monday, burning over 5,000 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains by Tuesday morning and raisingthe total number of firefighters battling the state’s six active wildfires to over 4,700.
As of Tuesday, the Los Angeles area’s Fish Fire had reached 3,000 acres burned, and the Reservoir Fire had burned 2,400 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Each were listed at 0 percent containment.
234 personnel are attending to the Reservoir Fire, which is located in the San Gabriel Canyon near Morris Dam. Authorities noted: “San Gabriel Canyon is being evacuated. HWY 39 is closed. The community of Mountain Cove, Camp Williams, and Glendora Mountain Road are under a mandatory evacuation.”
On Monday night ,the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) was assisting those evacuating due to the Fish Fire in Duarte. At least 600 homes had been affected by the fire as of Monday night.
Last Friday, top officials joined Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby to warn of volatile fire behavior in the coming Summer months. “If the recent fire in the Calabasas area is an indication of the upcoming fire season, then it’s critical (for homeowners) to clear brush away from their homes,” said Osby.
Riverside Fire Department Chief Michael Moore warned: “We have seen a big change in brush growth. It is higher than previous years … and this could be one of the worst (fire) seasons ever.”
A military drill regarding a potential biohazard scenario is set to take place in July, and this drill will use Foreign Language Services.
Without a doubt, there is something to these exercises that should make us question what is going on? And what is the military preparing for? As Americans, we have a right to know how the government spends our tax dollars, and why the military is training on our streets.
Recently a job listing came up in Vermont, placed by the FLSS, which stands for “Foreign Language Services Simulation.” The drill is in July, in Burlington Vermont. The details of this “drill” are far from the usual crisis scenario.
The FLSS teamed with the DOD (as per their about page) will gear up for some “sort of” contamination drill. The exercise will entail; “Some role players/actors will get extremely wet. Prop clothing will be cut off and they will be scrubbed with brushes and a lot of water (possibly cold water).”
There are an array of scenarios that come to mind given this description. Some of which could include contamination, disease, fires, health risks and so on. Given the fact that the FLSS is involved in this particular drill, it appears as though this training will potentially contain foreigners.
The question from there is, will this drill be about refugees? Or will it be about Foreign troops? Both of which are already within the continental United States.
Foreign Language Services Simulation (FLSS) provides partnership to the Department of Defense by preparing the military for operational support on training fields at home and overseas. Despite our name, our training assets extend beyond integrating and operating with FLS’s. We offer Field Training, Instructional and Technical services involving live, simulated or virtual milieus.
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