Palo Alto and the Bay Area are at great risk for a large fire similar to the Camp Fire in Butte County, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesman said.

The Bay Area is currently vulnerable to a possible fire that could spread into residential areas because of low humidity, dry vegetation and light winds, Cal Fire spokesman Jim Crawford said.

"We've had some pretty extreme conditions in the last month. It's never really changed," he said, noting the sustained, offshore winds that bring drier air.

The relative humidity in the Los Altos/Palo Alto mountainous areas has recently been as low as 16 percent and as high as 42 percent, depending on the time of day, according to National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data. But the historical November average humidity is about 68 percent. Even more concerning, the vegetation or "fuel" moisture in the past week was only 5-7 percent — exceedingly dry — according to NOAA.

Local foothills and the Santa Cruz Mountains have a similar fuel load and topography as that near the town of Paradise. Hilly canyons there channelled winds and increased the wind speeds to carry the fire, Crawford said.

"We have places that are similar to that, with roads and houses on ridge tops and in valleys and canyons. When you look west of the (Interstate) 280 area in Palo Alto and unincorporated areas such as around Stevens Creek, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, these places are very fire prone. In conditions like this, the fuels are primed to burn," he said.



If a wildfire breaks out in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Cal Fire would immediately respond, Crawford said. It has two local units: Santa Clara and San Mateo-Santa Cruz. The Santa Clara Unit, headquartered in Morgan Hill, covers Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties and the western portions of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties; the San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit covers the area from San Francisco to Watsonville.

Cal Fire has "cooperative fire-protection agreements" with Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which provide equipment and staffing. And almost every regular fire department, including Palo Alto's, has a coordinated response arrangement with Cal Fire, he said. The agency works in an "alliance" with 14 fire departments in Santa Clara County, including NASA Ames, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara County Fire Department. Cal Fire's San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit works with 20 fire departments, including Menlo Park and Woodside fire protection districts.

When the call comes, more than 500 firefighters from the two Cal Fire units are available to fight a wildland fire, Crawford said. More personnel can be deployed from other areas if needed.

Statewide, Cal Fire's jurisdiction typically includes zones where a fire would threaten state lands, but in the Bay Area, it responds to fires in virtually all of the wildlands. Its mission is to protect watershed lands, whether publicly or privately owned, he said. The agency has worked with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and has responded to fires on Stanford University lands, he said.

Cal Fire also has air tactical bases in the north bay near Santa Rosa and one in Hollister, he said. The bases house fixed-wing aircraft and are spaced so that any location can be reached within 20 minutes. Aircraft from Hollister would reach a Palo Alto fire within 12 to 15 minutes from the time the agency receives a call. Three planes out of either location could respond. Two would carry retardant — a combination of water, clay and fertilizer. The water cools down the fire; the clay and other materials help keep the fire from spreading, he said.

A third plane carries an air-tactical team, which acts like air-traffic control to guide the drops, Crawford said. If needed, Cal Fire can send an additional three aircraft from the Santa Rosa base and from other areas.

Helicopters that make water drops are also part of Cal Fire's arsenal. They fly out of the Alma Helitack, a base for helicopters near Highway 17 in Los Gatos. These aircraft can be in Palo Alto within six minutes, Crawford said. Unlike fixed-winged aircraft, which must return to base to reload, the helicopters can use a long snorkel to suck up water from a nearby lake or small pond, he said.

But the Santa Clara Unit has significant challenges in the area it covers, according to Cal Fire. The wildlands are adjacent to some of the most populous areas in the state. Controlled burns, the most economical means of reducing vegetation, are difficult to do on a large scale because there are no longer meaningful buffers between urban and wildland areas. Cal Fire has a number of programs and offers grants for fire prevention, but methods such as chipping and brush removal are expensive and time consuming, Crawford said.

Because of human encroachment, the risk for loss is also great. Crawford is deeply concerned by those liabilities.

"When I think of all of the assets at risk, it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. We've been very fortunate not to have had a large wildland fire here," he said.

But he predicted that a devastating wildfire in Palo Alto, Woodside, Los Altos Hills and other local open space areas is "inevitable," and it will likely come with losses of homes and businesses and, potentially, life.

The Cal Fire Santa Clara jurisdiction had one of the state's most devastating fires in 1991. The Tunnel Fire in the Oakland Hills killed 25 people (the Griffith Park Fire of 1933, which was the deadliest fire in state history prior to the Camp Fire, killed 29). The Oakland fire ranks as the third most damaging in terms of destroyed structures, according to Cal Fire data.

Environmental changes are likely to continue the trend of more costly and deadly fires in California, according to Crawford.

Since humans cause 95 percent of wildland fires, the public can be a big part of fire prevention, he said. Cal Fire currently has burn ban in place, so residents should not have fires outside or have a barbecue other than with a propane tank. People should not use mechanical tools such as mowers, grinders and weed whackers. Right now is not the time to start clearing the overgrowth with a sense of urgency. Crawford said residents should wait until conditions improve and then clear a defensible space around their homes.

He recommended joining a local county Fire Safe Council, which has chipping services to reduce fuel and other fire-prevention programs. (In Santa Clara County, visit sccfiresafe.org.) Residents should have a plan for their family and an evacuation plan.

If a fire does start, it's important to leave if one isn't sure about conditions even if residents haven't yet received an evacuation order, he said.

More information about how to prepare for wildfires can be found at readyforwildfire.org. Information about Cal Fire's Santa Clara Unit is available at fire.ca.gov/SCU.

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Homeowners need to think about indemnity of the contents within their hillside homes. Order a contents inventory from your carrier. Or take lots of pictures or even grab a spherical camera to document what's in the house.

With respect to the “raking comments:” In a BBC article entitled, California wildfires: Finland bemused by Trump raking comment: Sauli Niinisto (Finland President) told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper that, “Raking had not come up when they talked. I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network.” As a consequence, Finns have been posting pictures of themselves online raking local forests, joking about “Raking America great again". LOL (-:

The big overlooked issues in this article are methods and policies for timely notification of all residents and well developed and tested evacuation plans.

Little bit freaked out up here. In other threads, posters complain about neighbors still burning fireplaces on spare the air days. Hope they have good spark arresters. Gotta run. Good luck, folks. Supporting our intrepid leader, so back sweeping the forest for me...

Excellent article and long overdue! I'm a former US Forest Service firefighter and agree with the statements of a very real danger.

Our streets are clogged under normal conditions, how do we develop a culture that includes safety in the planning and development sphere, much less prioritizes it? We just witnessed how an inability to imagine even likely disaster and lack of consideration of egress in emergency evacuation led to loss of life. We live in an earthquake-prone area, and fire is usually the bigger disaster after the disaster. Development interests want to make money, and they are never going to self-police themselves when it comes to the overtaxing of the infrastructure, and the deadly impacts of ignoring safety. Most people are in denial about safety until the worst happens and then it's too late. We can learn from what is happening around the state, and it shouldn't just be fire suppression.

I think Trump has a point that we need to better manage our forest lands. I recall vividly hiking in the redwoods and seeing how the trees had fire scrrs up 12 feet on the trunk and they were fine. But the brush trees were up 24 feet and the next fire would take them out. A couple of years later a fire started there and went to the canopy and destroyed those trees. We need either controlled burns or some really big rakes. I have seen the videos of Finland and I would not call those things rakes, I would call them excavators. Bigger than tractors and much bigger than rakes. While he make a point, saying all we what we need to do is rake our forests ground just makes me agree with Tillerson regarding the intelligence of our President.

Methods and policies for timely notification of all residents and well developed and tested evacuation plans are applicable to all kinds of disasters. And evacuation by automobile is frequently not the best option - if you can walk faster than a stalled line of cars can move, then walk! The key is thinking and planning ahead.

"Trump has a point that we need to better manage our forest lands" Half the CA forests are under federal authority. Trump is just spewinh nonsense again, while he was up in Playing, CA. "I have seen the videos of Finland" The Finn's don't rake their forests. Get real. (Bog fires are actually a bigger problem in Finland.) Now.stop fibbing - I have raking to do!

@make America Rake Again. 1) Do you know what a excavators is? Here is one on eBay, only $26,000 Web Link. Works better than a rake. 2) Do you know what Tillerson's opinion of the intelligence of our President was? Taka a look Web Link 3) I agree with Tillerson.

I have wondered whether it would be at all useful for people to hose down their homes when fire threatens to prevent some damage. Or would that affect water pressure elsewhere.

@Amateur question. When the BelAir fire hit LA a long time ago, people did that and you are right, the water pressure went to zero. Maybe things are different now so it is a good question. Better probably to keep the brush away from your house and don't have wood shingles. I used to think the Bel Air fire was a huge tragedy but by comparison to the Camp fire, it was nothing. Climate Change is making these fires so much worse (and the President is a moron in case nobody bothered to look that up).

We still have some original asbestos fire retardant in our house (in between the walls alongside the insulation material). Maybe we should leave it in for fire protection.

the fire chief and city council chose not to staff the fire station in the palo alto hills for 2 years now. the closest fire engine is also staffing an ambulance so there is a good chance they would be on a medical call and not able to respond to the fire. the palo alto citizens need to make city council aware this is not acceptable and need to be fully staffed for any possible fire storm in the area.

Excavators? 45 million acres of forest in CA How much per acre in labor (getting there, HE operators, removal, transit, etc..) 5 grand is a number thrown around Do the math, Donny. *** >> get our powerlines underground That happens during Infrastructure Week. Haven't you heard?

Exhibit A for funding water in the lake at Foothills Park. I've watched helicopters dip their fire buckets into it.

We were in Foothills Park last weekend. The fire danger sign indicated extreme danger. No one was at the cabin at the park entrance. Vegetation was tall and super dry. Foothills Park should be closed to all visitors at this time.

We need to put our utilities underground. Los Altos Hills has brought up this possibility numerous times but it’s been stalled. Our power lines are in sad shape, many drooping and close to fry and dying trees.

A way that other at-risk wildfire areas is a reverse 911 system. ALL people get a call for an a emergency in the area. Just use it. What is different: we have " tule fog " in the morning that lifts away around 11 o'clock in the morning. That fog moistens our lands in the hills. Wildfires are a part of the normal ecological cycle in the area. Nature tries to keep the original part of Redwood tree growth by having SMALL fires that clears out the brush that restored Natures balance. By interfering with that normal system, MAN created these wildfire conditions. Our early farmers know that; they have controlled burns, usually held at night to properly stop the controlled burn and put out embers when needed. CONTROLLED burns won't work here because of the overgrowth issues. A

Re undergrounding utilities, Keene and Scharff told the CC we just can't afford it. Many on CC were unaware that any neighborhoods had been undergrounded although neighborhoods like mine undergrounded decades ago and each homeowner paid about $8,500 to do so then.

Lost our house with 10 others in 1985 fire in Take a picture of all of the items of value in your house, including pictures on the wall and clothing in your closet. You will need proof when you submit your insurance claim. Store pictures in safe deposit box, not in house.

Re: burying power lines: The utility poles are mostly jointly owned by PA Utilities and AT&T. AT&T is only going to consent to (and contribute to paying for) moving to underground service if they see it as a benefit, or the PUC requires them to do so -- neither of which is the case. It's worth reading this report from the Utilities Department on the Underground Conversion Program Web Link I'm surprised that, given the amount of interest that people have in underground service, that City Council members haven't bothered to read the historical information.

Thanks for the above link but that Underground Conversion Report is from 2010. You're surprised the CC hasn't bothered to read it? I'm not; I'm disgusted that they had other "priorities" like anti-idling regulations, proclamations that PA welcomes technology companies etc.etc. SHAME ON THEM. Last year PA Utilities ran a $19,500,000 "surplus" siphoning money from our pockets into the General Fund. I'd love to see figures for this year given all the rate hikes we've had. Re ATT's role in the 2010 report, one only had to attend the cell phone tower meeting to be shocked at the CC's failure to do their homework and their failure to question the telecom lobbyist's claim they spent a pittance nationally on tower safety research as well as the city's undergrounding history. Too bad our Chief of Into Technology is so busy jet-setting around the world at the info industry's expense to do his job.

If you have the time its eye opening to compare the comments (to this publication) of the CalFire representative to Fire Chief Nickel from last year. CalFire is warning of obvious danger and wants fire protection increased. CalFfire has offered to pay Palo Alto to cover their own station in the foothills this year. Staffing levels in Palo Alto are so low the department couldn’t even accept the free money to staff the station! On the other hand Chief Nickel claims fires like the one in Santa Rosa are driven by 50 year wind events. (It happened again in Paradise this year). He also worked with the city council to cut positions and focus resources elsewhere. Yes there are many calls for medical services, this is an increase in call volume not a displacement in call volume. Palo Alto Fire is losing the ability to provide enough people for first responder work and critical situations. Too much number crunching and not enough good faith public safety work. California is currently experiencing a rewinding of the clock. Fires used to burn down entire cities and towns and we all thought this was a thing of the past. CalFire is warning us that it’s time to increase protection not decrease it. This week Chief Nickel discussed sending first responders to peoples homes to prevent medical calls. Basically creating a call to prevent a call when there already aren’t enough to handle the potential dangers we face.

An all-volunteer homeless fire brigade could help alleviate any potential fire problems at Foothills Park and its adjacent areas. Just provide them with tents, food/provisions + firefighting clothing and equipment. Conduct a basic training program and you will now have trained 'first responders' in the immediate area in the vent of a fire. Issuing helmets and badges to them will add to a sense of belonging and purpose.

If I have to evacuate Palo Alto, I'm going to bicycle with the kids in a bike trailer. I refuse to suffocate in gridlock.

@Online Name -- yes, the report is from 2010. However, history hasn't changed, AT&T's unwillingness to fund underground utilities has only got worse, the requirement that AT&T be involved has not gone away, the cost/mile of burying utilities has only gone up, etc. etc. The point of the link is so that people can START by reading that, and then perhaps further educate themselves about the issue before they start declaiming about how we just have to bury the utilities to prevent wildfires.

@OnlineName -- yes, the report is from 2010. However, history hasn't changed, AT&T's unwillingness to fund underground utilities has only got worse, the requirement that AT&T be involved has not gone away, the cost/mile of burying utilities has only gone up, etc. etc. The point of the link is so that people can START by reading that, and then perhaps further educate themselves about the issue before they start declaiming about how we just have to bury the utilities to prevent wildfires.

@Random Resident, no argument. Just saying it would be special if our city officials and cc members bothered to do their homework before ruling on issues like cell towers. Pretty shocking to hear lifelong PA residents on the CC claim we've never had undergrouding when some of us remember shelling out $8,500 for undergrounding. Sure, they could START by reading the 8-yr-old report but would they bother when it's easier to focus on "feel good" regs like anti-idling? Yes, the price of undergrounding has probably gone up but as much as our utility rates keep increasing to throw off a $19,500,000 "surplus"?

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland >> @Random Resident, no argument. Just saying it would be special if our city officials and cc members bothered to do their homework before ruling on issues like cell towers. I'm not worried in the least about RF from a nearby cell tower. OTOH, I happened to be walking through a neighborhood (I walk a lot around various parts of Palo Alto) and saw a new installation on top of a pole right next to close-up dwellings above the sidewalk. The pole-mounted towers installations are -noisy-. I guess these things are not very power-efficient, and must have some kind of cooling system. It would certainly be very annoying to me to have that right outside my kitchen or bedroom window. >> Pretty shocking to hear lifelong PA residents on the CC claim we've never had undergrouding when some of us remember shelling out $8,500 for undergrounding. I remember when undergrounding was approved in general. I would like to see that work completed in my lifetime. I would like to see it include -provider independent- ducts for fiber-to-the-home so that other providers besides AT&T and Comcast could compete to provide internet service. >> Yes, the price of undergrounding has probably gone up but as much as our utility rates keep increasing to throw off a $19,500,000 "surplus"? Besides undergrounding, Palo Alto Utilities should also be planning a redundant power feed to the city from the west. Right now the corridor by the airport is a single point of failure.

Can Caltrans or City of PA or the County please remove the ugly dry brush at 101 entrances/exits. This is a start on prevention. Thanks if any government officials read this and take action.

The environmental groups for years have fought any cleaning out of the under brush in the forest. Several experts indicated that cleaning out the under brush with sheep or goats help keep the environment healthy and are good for wildlife. For two consecutive years the state has had terrible fires, and the built in resistance through the state government will not take the problem seriously. Action should be taken now, we don't need some study group to come to the same conclusion in two years at the cost of more burning.

Posted by member, a resident of Greenmeadow >> The environmental groups for years have fought any cleaning out of the under brush in the forest. Can you please cite exactly what you are talking about? Brush clearing on property near housing is actually required by state law.Web Link >> Several experts indicated that cleaning out the under brush with sheep or goats help keep the environment healthy and are good for wildlife. And people do this all the time. They were busy on Stanford lands recently. The main problem is -cost-. >> For two consecutive years the state has had terrible fires, and the built in resistance through the state government will not take the problem seriously. Action should be taken now, we don't need some study group to come to the same conclusion in two years at the cost of more burning. The problem with improved forest management is cost. The timber industry usually wants to clearcutting with poor management of steep areas, waterways, etc, resulting in erosion and damage to fisheries. The timber industry likes to use herbicides for new grow areas:Web Link Careful forest management that doesn't damage waterways is more labor intensive and costly, no doubt about it. That doesn't mean all environmentalists oppose all logging-- we just want it done responsibly. Locals often oppose nearby controlled burns, but, the main problem again is cost. We all experienced the terrible air quality recently-- but, controlled burns have to be done in the right conditions for both safety and air quality:Web Link

>> the built in resistance through the state government will not take the problem seriously. 50% of the forest in CA is under FEDERAL CONTROL. At least you were not stupid enough to echo Donny's raking absurdities. >>Action should be taken now, we don't need some study group to come to the same conclusion in two years at the cost of more burning. LMFTFY Action on GLOBAL WARMING should be taken now, we don't need some study group to come to the same conclusionS AGAIN AFTER DECADES OF STUDY, at the cost of more burning.

Hey ajax and allen - while blaming global warming may float your boat, the facts point where few journalists or arm-chair climatologists have cared to look: 1a) Modern CA history just happens to coincide with the wettest 150 year span in the past 2000-3000, but we are now returning to the much drier pre-1850 norms. If you won't listen to me, listen to professor Lynn Ingram in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley: Web Link Cliff Notes version: Vegetation that grew over 150 wet years is burning now that it's dry again. 1b) The graph on page 9 of this 1650-1850 U.S. wildfire frequency study shows that some or all of any given 1.2km2 area in CA's current fire areas burned every 5 years or so: Web Link Cliff Notes: frequency and intensity of today's fires are merely a return to the norm. 2) NatGeo's 2/15/14 article recounts how the SF Bay Area's Native American Indian population grew and collapsed in accordance with naturally-occurring droughts that lasted from decades to over 200 years: Web Link 3) The number of CA properties at risk of fire has increased to 7 million as of August 2018. That is a 1000% increase since 1940 vs 475% population growth during that time. Cliff Notes version: we're living closer to fire zones. CA is much drier and more fire-prone than modern (>1850) history would suggest. Unfortunately, we didn't have the benefit of science as we populated the state, and now we're seeing the tragic intersection of wildfire reality and CA sprawl. Cliff Notes summary: "In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." - Galileo

Climate denier Chris Zaharias hides his fallacies behind a Galileo quote. Let's look at past Zaharias absurdities: Chris: "...global warming will be recognized as one of the greatest swindles in world history." Galileo: "By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox" *** Released by the White House yesterday - the Fourth National Climate Assessment First lines: "Global climate is changing. Most of the warming of the past half-century is due to human activities" *** Agencies that support the National Climate Assessment - thirteen federal agencies with the assistance of "1,000 people, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government." NOAA DOA DOC DOD DOE HHS DOI DOS DOT EPA NASA NSF Smithsonian Institution USAID List of local deniers willing to lie in the face of all evidence: Chris Zaharias Well, then.

also, pasted multiple times (twice in just this forum - lazy, or someone else's work?): "I could go on and on with legitimate, scientific destruction of AGW..." signed, Chris Zaharias or "Global climate is changing. Most of the warming of the past half-century is due to human activities" signed, NOAA DOA DOC DOD DOE HHS DOI DOS DOT EPA NASA NSF Smithsonian Institution USAID

I was at Ace hardware the other day and they had plenty of rakes for sale..Bought a couple and gave one to my neighbor. Our hillside is a little cleaner now and less fire prone.

ajax - you know you're losing an argument when all you got is ad hominem. You brought up this past week's 4th National Climate Assessment, which like the three before it, is laughable. It’s continued reliance on climate models flies in the face of actual real-world measurements which show said models—and the erroneous predictions they lead to—to be wrong. The projections in the NCA are all based on climate models. If there's something big systematically wrong with those models, then the projections aren’t worth diddly. Here’s the first bit of missing information: Web Link (link to chart) The chart shows predicted and observed tropical (20⁰N-20⁰S) temperatures in the middle of the earth’s active weather zone—technically the mid-troposphere, roughly from 5,000ft to 30,000ft elevation. The predicted values are from the 102 climate model realizations from 32 different base model groups. These models are from the most recent science compendium of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is the most comprehensive set available. Data for the chart were recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The squares are the average of the three extant datasets for satellite-sensed global temperatures in the same zone, the circles are the average of the four weather balloon records, and the diamonds are the fancy new “reanalysis” data, which uses a physical model to compensate for the fact that not all three-dimensional “soundings” of the atmosphere are from the same stations every day. The difference between the predicted changes and observed is striking, with only one model, the Russian INCM4, appearing realistic. In its latest iteration, its climate sensitivity (the net warming calculated for a doubling of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration) is 1.4⁰C (2.5⁰F) compared to the average of 3.2⁰C (5.8⁰F) in the family of models used in the National Climate Assessment. In fact, the temperature trajectory the earth is on, along with an expected large-scale shift from coal to gas for electrical generation (already underway in the U.S. and Canada) will keep total human-caused warming to less than 2.0⁰C (3.6⁰F) between 1950 and 2100, which is the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.1 That’s a far cry from the extremism of the National Assessment. The second bit of missing information is sufficient to invalidate most of the Assessment’s predictions. It’s a bit more complicated than the first one: Web Link (link to graph) The vertical axis is height (as measured by barometric pressure) and the horizontal axis is temperature change, in degrees C per decade. The solid green line is the observed average of our four sets of vertical sounding data from balloons. You can see that the observed warming rate at the surface (given as the “1000 hPa” on the left axis) is a bit above 0.1⁰C/decade, while the predicted value (1979-2016) is smidge below 0.2⁰C. In other words, in this region, which is extremely important to global climate, almost twice as much warming is being predicted compared to what is measured. This is figure S-2 in the recent Bulleting of the American Meteorological Society report on the climate of 2016. But the situation gets truly horrific as one goes up in the atmosphere. The models predict that there should have been a huge “hot spot” over the entire tropics, which is a bit less than 40% of the globe’s surface. Halfway up through the atmosphere (by pressure), or at 500 hPa, the predicted warming is also twice what is being observed, and further up, the prediction is for seven times more warming than is being observed. The importance of this is paramount. The vertical distribution of temperature in the tropics is central to the formation of precipitation. When the difference between the surface and the upper layers is large, surface air is more buoyant, billowing upwards as the cumulonimbus cloud of a heavy thunderstorm. When the difference is less, storm activity is suppressed. As shown on the chart, the difference is supposed to be becoming less and less, which would result in a general tendency for tropical drying. In reality, the opposite is occurring over much of the tropics, which should result in an increase in precipitation, rather than the decrease forecast by the climate models. Missing the tropical hot spot provokes an additional cascade of errors. A vast amount of the moisture that forms precipitation here originates in the tropics. Getting that wrong trashes the precipitation forecast, with additional downstream consequences, this time for temperature. When the sun shines over a wet surface, the vast majority of its incoming energy is shunted towards the evaporation of water rather than direct heating of the surface. This is why in the hottest month in Manaus, Brazil, in the middle of the tropical rainforest and only three degrees from the equator, high temperatures average only 91⁰F (not appreciably different than humid Washington, DC’s 88⁰F). To appreciate the effect of water on surface heating of land areas, high temperatures in July in bone-dry Death Valley average 117⁰F. Getting the surface temperature wrong will have additional consequences for vegetation and agriculture. In general, a wetter U.S. is one of bumper crops and good water supplies out west from winter snows, hardly the picture painted in the National Assessment. So this one, like its predecessors, suffers from a serious and obvious flaws that are simply ignored. As first documented in our 2004 book Meltdown, the first Assessment used models that were worse than a table of random numbers when applied to 20th century coterminous U.S. temperatures, and the chief scientist for the report knew it and went ahead anyway! The last (third) one engendered book-length filed public comments, all with our eye for climate humor, and the second one was so bad that we published an entire palimpsest, or mirror-image document. Ignoring the massive and critical errors noted above—along with a whole other emerging story on the arbitrary nature of the climate models—is certainly going to lead for some to call for a reexamination of EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” from carbon dioxide, which is the basis for regulation of greenhouse gases.

Zahraias: "when all you got is ad hominem" Using your Zaharia's own words is now considered "ad hominem"?!? Zaharias: "...global warming will be recognized as one of the greatest swindles in world history." *** With that cleared up, notice that Chris thinks if he throws enough s(tuff) against the wall, we'll believe him over the... Department of Defense NASA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of Energy National Science Foundation Smithsonian Institution Environmental protection Agency and so many, many more... Why? Because Chris has a graph up on google. Okay. Who does Chris believe? Well, in the current land of Trumpers, there's only one go-to, amiright? "...with only one model, the Russian INCM4, appearing realistic..." Just remember the Zaharias history - in his own words: Zaharias: "...global warming will be recognized as one of the greatest swindles in world history." Notice he will never address his own lies, errors and mistakes? It's all "ad hominem".

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park >> Hey ajax and allen - while blaming global warming may float your boat, ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Boilerplate Fox News comment that -undermines- some good information that you are trying to make below. Fox News is wrong and many Fox News "guests" are not telling you the truth. Global warming -is- happening right now. If you have some kind of preconceived notion regarding the -sources- of that global warming-- you might as well partition off that part of the conversation, because, what you go on to talk about below is actually -climate change-. And, guess what, climatologists have been studying naturally-occurring climate change since before you and I were born. The below information that you provided is interesting in context-- the context being what California should do about climate change and fire risk: >> the facts point where few journalists or arm-chair climatologists have cared to look: >> 1a) We are probably agreed on many of the things that will have to be done soon. We may not agree on -how-. For example, I strongly prefer costlier, more labor-intensive forest management that doesn't cause massive erosion and doesn't destroy fisheries. Labor-intensive forestry-management doesn't "pay for itself" through timber sales from logging, and although it certainly generates timber, it is going to cost taxpayers. Taxes, the unmentionable "T-word".

Forest fires, tornados, hurricanes, snow blizzards, earthquakes, heavy rains with resultant floods, volcanic eruptions etc. Are we going to continually blame these natural occurrences on global warming? It's simply a matter of where one resides. Global warming is a trendy excuse. 45 years ago, over population was the bandwagon cause. What's next?

"Global warming is a trendy excuse." Deniers are smarter than professionals from: Department of Defense NASA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of Energy National Science Foundation Smithsonian Institution Environmental protection Agency and so many more... National Climate Assessment: Web Link The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. First sentences: "Global climate is changing. Most of the warming of the past half-century is due to human activities" Perhaps our denier should start by looking up the definition of 'trendy'.

Posts by Chris are full of facts and information, post by ajax just insults, typical when one doesn't have facts. And yes Ajax, those agencies you cite will of course "flame the fires" of climate change. Its called "creating job security"

Too funny. "post by ajax just insults" Insults - like using Chris' own words?!? Here: "...global warming will be recognized as one of the greatest swindles in world history." "those agencies you cite will of course "flame the fires" of climate change. Its called "creating job security" The Department of Defense? The Department of Energy? Headed by Rick "three things - uhhh..." Perry? Too funny.

It's dollars dummy: What absolute nonsense you spout! Referring to the national climate assessment is hardly an insult. Anthropogenic climate change is real and frightening and requires a non-partisan response. In fact the only self-interested dollar-focused parties involved are the fossil fuel interests like Exxon-Mobil and the Koch brothers as well as the climate change obfuscation organizations like the Heartland Institute supported by fossil-fuel interests. Surely a sign of the lameness of your arguments is the final ad hominem attack on climate scientists, who surely know far more about the issues than do either you or Mr Zaharias. Finally, re the use of models: See e.g. the WaPo article about Ken Caldeira's work showing that the models predicting the most extreme climate change are the ones that best agree with observations: Web Link

All these climate deniers insulting our great military. The DOD has for a decade been saying climate change is real. Get with the program, sailors.

Posted by It's dollars dummy, a resident of Mountain View >> Posts by Chris are full of facts and information, post by ajax just insults, typical when one doesn't have facts. And yes Ajax, those agencies you cite will of course "flame the fires" of climate change. Its called "creating job security" Even Chris doesn't dispute climate change. He just -believes-, for non-scientific reasons, that people are not responsible for much of it. That matters, certainly, because we need to stop burning coal "now", and those beliefs are causing delay. It doesn't matter as far as California's ongoing climate change, which is undisputed. Nor does it matter as far as how California needs to manage the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). Web Link One thing that Coffey Park taught us is that conventional construction is at risk further from the WUI than many people realized. That probably means that construction standards will have to change, and that means increased materials cost and that will make affordable housing even more difficult.

All these agencies signed off on the National Climate Assessment, and all the deniers can do is claim ad hominem 'attacks'?????? Actually, probably their best debate tactic left - they so clearly have no facts on their side. NOAA DOA DOC DOD DOE HHS DOI DOS DOT EPA NASA NSF Smithsonian Institution USAID

"Even Chris doesn't dispute climate change." Ahhhh, really? I don't get that he has accepted Climate Change. Chris - can you clarify? You used to be an adamant denier. Now you are what? Still a denier? A waffler? Can you succinctly state your position on Climate Change? (without all the ridiculous cherry picked points from various weather charts, etc..) thank you...

A 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in ocean temperatures by 2050 is relatively minimal & almost trivial. Weather patterns have been running in cycles since Day 1. The dinosaurs didn't drive cars or operate factories and yet they perished. Some say their demise was caused by a supernova which dropped the temperatures on Earth. And then the Ice Age eliminated the early mammals who also did not drive cars or pursue industrial interests. We should be more concerned about drops in overall temperatures...Global Chilling. Learn from history and enjoy the warmer climates. People often pay extra just to live in those areas providing their are relatively safe from political and social upheavals. Drought is also cyclical as is the economy. Everything is and doomsday prophesies do little except to create insignificant and worrisome hypotheses. 50 years ago, Dr. Paul Ehrlich warned us of a population explosion which would eventually destroy life on Earth. It didn't. Much ado about nothing. Now back to the Sunday NFL games...

Eco Hog Wash is smarter than the Department of Defense. And NASA. And the Department of Energy. And 11 others agencies and 97% of scientists. Wow. So smart. We are so lucky to have your peers reviewed observations.

Please enjoy your football games. You deserve the rest, given all your thorough scientific research. How about dem' frozen pipes in Happy Valley yesterday? More proof that global warming is a hoax?

It is a shame that this thread has not been a "thoughtful gathering place" for discussing the topic Conditions in Palo Alto area hills are ripe for wildfire.

Posted by Eco Hog Wash, a resident of Adobe-Meadow >> A 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in ocean temperatures by 2050 is relatively minimal & almost trivial.. This one page refutes your comments:Web Link >> Learn from history and enjoy the warmer climates. People often pay extra just to live in those areas If you are feeling cold, from one senior to another: "So move to Florida already!" The fact that there is ice somewhere on the planet seems to offend some of us seniors for some odd reason. Some others of us have more trouble with heat than cold and are looking to move to cool off more. IOW, no, the planet does not need to warm up because you are cold right now. >> 50 years ago, Dr. Paul Ehrlich warned us of a population explosion which would eventually destroy life on Earth. It didn't. He was right. It is destroying the planet. We have to stop burning coal ASAP.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton >> discussing the topic Conditions in Palo Alto area hills are ripe for wildfire. Based on what we saw at Coffey Park (Tubbs Fire), I'm guessing that concerns about vegetation are almost orthogonal to the largest issue. Clearly at Coffey Park, windblown embers that landed on rooftops and so on, far from the originating fire. In some areas, trees and shrubs clearly were damaged by burning houses, rather than the other way around:Web Link I think much of the same must also be true of the Camp Fire. After what we saw in the Tubbs Fire, I now think that improved fire resistance of buildings is just as important as forest management. I'll be looking for references on the best ways to make houses for fire-resistant to externally-caused fires.

I love all these anonymous posters who claim to be smarter than 12 American agencies like the Department of Defense. Bonzoburgers.

Global warming = the sky is falling. Temperatures vary over time, sometimes higher and sometimes lower. The same applies to seasonal rainfall variations. Eco-paranoia is for the faint of heart and its proponents are always trying to alter other people's lifestyles. Live and let live and when you die, it's only natural. No one gets out of here alive. Who are you to think you are going to beat the grim reaper?

Posted by Focus on Today, a resident of East Palo Alto >> Global warming = the sky is falling. Temperatures vary over time, sometimes higher and sometimes lower. The same applies to seasonal rainfall variations. Yeah, about that "lower". Read the very first graph here:Web Link The last "below average" year was 1976. "the 2017 average global temperature across land and ocean surface areas was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the twentieth-century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), making it the third-warmest year on record behind 2016 (warmest) and 2015 (second warmest). It was the warmest non-El-Niño year in the record" >> Eco-paranoia is for the faint of heart and its proponents are always trying to alter other people's lifestyles. Actually, people who burn fossil fuels (most of us), but especially, coal-fired power plants (an urgent problem), are actually altering the lifestyles of everyone on the planet. >> Live and let live and when you die, it's only natural. Sure, -everything- that people do is "natural" by one definition. But, if you read the web page referenced above, you will realize that the world's climate is changing. >> No one gets out of here alive. Who are you to think you are going to beat the grim reaper? "To hell with posterity. What has posterity ever done for us?"** I guess you don't have grandchildren? Nieces and nephews? Anybody? So, you're perfectly happy to consign "posterity" to a world without glaciers, coral reefs, or -- ? The fact is, we're in trouble. We need to stop burning coal ASAP if we care at all about our grandchildren's world. ** Web Link

@focus on today: "Global warming = the sky is falling" Sounds like another denier like Chris. reality: "Global climate is changing. Most of the warming of the past half-century is due to human activities" There are real costs and tragedies to Climate Change that are happening in our, and our children's lifetimes. See the report for descriptions. Believe the deniers like Chris and focus on today as they bury their heads in the sand? Or listen to the following organizations? Department of Defense NASA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of Energy National Science Foundation Smithsonian Institution Environmental protection Agency and so many more...

Personally speaking, I don't really care what happens on earth after I leave its premises. Some say that our existence here is just an illusion anyway. That said...I use (and store) solar power at home, drive an all electric car and try my best not to overly rely on 'things' that require large amounts of energy to produce. The same goes for my food sources as I am a vegan who grows his own seasonal fruits/vegetables and has a cold storage cellar. That's about the best that I can do. I'll let others worry themselves about the repercussions of global warming. I'm a relatively low-impact player and when I'm gone, I could care less about what happens to (or on) earth. It won't be my problem to contend with.

I want to respond to a few points that Chris is making in this thread, regarding the accuracy of climate models. One thing people should be aware of is that many of the studies and graphs he points to come from the Cato Institute and CFACT, which you can read more about. Sources matter, and it's important to know these sources. Climate models have become more accurate over time, as you would expect. In the 70's and early 80's, they didn't account for the decrease in halocarbons initiated by the Montreal Protocol, and some didn't fully account for the capacity of the oceans to absorb carbon. You can find a good analysis of some of the main models over time at carbonbrief.org here: Web Link You can find a more opinionated article about why the Cato Institute and the like continue to promote false information about the accuracy of the climate models in a recent article from The Guardian, here: Web Link I strongly agree with Chris, though, that ad hominem attacks are not the way to go. We are in this together, and need to find constructive ways to turn the boat, using facts from objective scientists and policy organizations to guide our priorities. BTW, I certainly agree with Chris that sprawl is a problem, and that the correlation between drought and climate change is not clear. However, drought and wildfire frequency are not the same. An interesting article here about how recent wildfires came in non-drought years, and air temperature and dryness are more of a factor than soil temperature and dryness. (These were among the hottest years on record.) Web Link The article also discusses why it's not useful to look at wildfire records dating before 1960 or so (as Chris does). These are difficult and complex issues. We do have to rely on the experts who are working on this. Please make sure to look at the sources that people are quoting.

> Most of the warming of the past half-century is due to human activities Now we are back to the over population factor. If such is the case, we need to reduce the number of births worldwide (and nationwide) by limiting families to 1-2 children maximum. Penalties could include reduced IRS/SSI breaks for having too many dependent children, reduction of social services for those exceeding family limitations, cut-offs of foreign aid to 3rd world/developing countries still burdened by overpopulation and monetary rewards for not having children. Fewer people = fewer cars, fewer food and health care requirements/expenditures and a reduction in manufacturing and energy needs. By reducing the world's population by at least 25%, there would be less global warming concerns. Disease, infant mortality, starvation and war (from the old Malthusian model) may be the best friend we have in combatting global warming.

@Amateur Question, "I have wondered whether it would be at all useful for people to hose down their homes when fire threatens to prevent some damage. Or would that affect water pressure elsewhere." People hosing down their homes can reduce water pressure so much that it does indeed affect fire fighting. Staying and hosing down a house is a way less successful way of saving your house anyway. Instead: 1) Replace the wood shake roof with a fire safe roof 2) Be sure the vents have suitable spark protection 3) Keep your gutters cleaned 4) Keep defensible space. Keep down dry weeds. Remove oily flammable or built-up landscaping like overgrown juniper, that can explode from embers and burn for so long it sets your house on fire. 5) Buy a homeowner's fire-retardant non-toxic gel kit. They attach to hoses, and can be sprayed onto a house and protect it for hours, and can be re-wet from a mist hours later. This uses far less water, is far more effective, and doesn't require the homeowner to remain to protect the house. 6) Replace the old single-pane windows with double-pane windows. When large areas burn without anyone there to water things down, often the fire passes house to house, and things get started when heat breaks the single-paned windows and contents inside catch on fire long before the exterior of the house does. This is why you see so many images of neighborhoods from Santa Rosa where people's trees and landscaping still look fine. 7) Upgrade your foundation so that when the next earthquake hits, your house doesn't slide off the foundation and break a gas line. One of the biggest fire threats is post-earthquake. 8) Stop the City from putting hardscape barriers in the middle of the very small number of arteries we have in this town, and other idiotic things they are doing to force traffic to a halt, so that first responders can actually get around in the event of a major disaster. Safety usually never has a constituency until the worst happens. Remind City Council of putting safety first in planning and keep at it. Send your letters to Sacramento, too, because we just just voted in a state government that could be so susceptible to the slick arguments of development interests that they destroy trust in Progressive politics.

Posted by Safety Should Be First, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood >> 1) Replace the wood shake roof with a fire safe roof >> 2) Be sure the vents have suitable spark protection >> 3) Keep your gutters cleaned Australia has a complete set of construction standards regarding bushfires, Australian Standard (AS) 3959. The first thing that jumped out at me is that plastic is not allowed, starting with no vinyl windows. Some types of wood frame windows are allowed in some cases, but, otherwise, metal frame windows are preferred- preferably, stainless steel or corrosion resistant steel, or, steel shutters over the whole window. For starters, Google: Australia "AS 3959" BAL-19 BAL-29 BAL-40

@causes: "I strongly agree with Chris, though, that ad hominem attacks are not the way to go." What ad hominem attacks? Like quoting Chris Zaharias' denials of Climate Change? "We are in this together..." Actually, no. Go read the posts above - there are many who are not "in this" at all. And that includes many of the Deniers. "We" will have to fix this without not only their help, but over their objections. Fortunately, we have facts and science to support our efforts. Department of Defense NASA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of Energy National Science Foundation Smithsonian Institution Environmental protection Agency and so many more...

Is using the moniker "Denier" considered an insult? Too much PC. They're clearly not fully able to understand the Department of Defense,etc..

If global warming was addressed in accordance with the doomsday prophets, there would still be forest fires and periodic droughts. It's like trying to a cold. Even if you do your best to avoid catching one, you will still get one eventually.

If global warming was addressed in accordance with the doomsday prophets, there would still be forest fires and periodic droughts. It's like a cold. Even if you do your best to avoid catching one, you will still get one eventually.

That's an incoherent post, even for a Denier. Fortunately, all our local Deniers are sooooooo smart, smarter than the chief researchers from - NOAA DOA DOC DOD DOE HHS DOI DOS DOT EPA NASA NSF Smithsonian Institution USAID

>>> If global warming was addressed in accordance with the doomsday prophets, there would still be forest fires and periodic droughts. The POTUS has addressed this issue and there are other factors outside of global warming creating countless environmental hazards. Global warming should be addressed but curtailing it will not put an end to acts of nature or PG&E oversights.

Posted by Hoover Researcher, a resident of Stanford >> Global warming should be addressed Yes, we actually need to address it and phase out coal ASAP. It will cost money, raise taxes, and raise the price of electricity, but, we need to do it anyway. >> but curtailing it will not put an end to acts of nature or PG&E oversights. No one weather or fire event can be attributed to a single cause. The legal system "wants" to attribute blame to a single cause, or, at worst, to a percentage of multiple causes. Scientifically speaking, that simply can't be done with phenomena that are fundamentally statistical. The legal system will have to "get over it." While the lawyers struggle over the O($10B) loss, what we, the public, need to do is the same regardless of whether the causes of the dry forests are human-driven or naturally-driven. 1) The Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) is now understood to be considerably larger in California than people originally thought. Think Coffey Park. Larger areas of human settlement in California turn out to be in the WUI than people guessed. 2) The vulnerability of construction to fire has gotten worse. Adobe and tile has given way (even worse detour through shingle and shake roofs) to vulnerable roof configurations with plastic fittings, plastic gutters, openings in eaves, and vinyl windows. Modular housing with aluminum and plastic and various composite materials are cheap and light, but, collapse with heat, melt, burn, and sometimes even support spreading fires, all have become common. 3) Fires in the WUI have been aggressively suppressed for 100 years, but, labor-intensive processes to remove undergrowth have been neglected. Controlled/prescribed burns are often opposed in the WUI by neighbors. In forests, trees weakened by drought have been killed by bark beetles. Removal of dead trees and other drought-related thinning is labor-intensive and therefore costly. As far as the immediate crisis is concerned, it doesn't matter whether the climate change is "natural" or "created by people". Housing in the AGI needs to be held to strict wildfire-resistant construction standards. That will cost $$. Paradise was also a paradise of inexpensive construction, affording retired people of limited means an opportunity for continued homeownership. Forests need to be managed better, especially in and near the WUI. Today (forestry robots anyone?) that means labor-intensive practices that will cost $$. Timber sales from logging won't cover it, so, the money will have to come from somewhere else.

@Anon, " Australia has a complete set of construction standards regarding bushfires, Australian Standard (AS) 3959. The first thing that jumped out at me is that plastic is not allowed, starting with no vinyl windows. Some types of wood frame windows are allowed in some cases, but, otherwise, metal frame windows are preferred- preferably, stainless steel or corrosion resistant steel, or, steel shutters over the whole window." The situation is different when you are talking bushfires. The big risk here in Palo Alto is more like what happened to a lot of homes in the Oakland Fire. Hundreds of homes were lost, not in the conflagration you saw on TV, but on slow house-to-house burn of the kind that will happen here after a major earthquake, because there was simply no one to pour water. (Oakland had different hydrant hose fittings than surrounding communities so mutual aid could not help as they would have.) What happened a lot in Oakland, and I suspect in a lot of Coffey Park, is that the single pane windows break from the heat of a fire next door, long before the cladding on the windows is affected, and something inside catches fire, eventually consuming the house. There were people whose homes survived but the outer pane of glass in their windows all burst from the heat. Metal versus vinyl windows would have made no difference, it was the insulation of the dual panes of glass. People whose homes survived were more likely to have been offset from others next door. This is another potential danger of density and failing to crease fire breaks/urban green spaces that we are due from the code after the development. Another big one is that people don't clear their gutters and embers from far away ignite either the roof or the gutter clutter, and that in turn sets the eaves or the roof on fire even if the roof is fire resistant. The City Council really should just ban wood shake roofs. It's one thing if people don't care if their house burns down, but their house will very likely be a danger to everyone else's. Getting them to care about safety is a tough row, though.

@anon - your callous talk of the necessity of raising taxes to fund planet-saving measures irks me. I don’t know if you’ve followed les gilets jaunes here in France, but were the hundreds of thousands of working-class French protesting Macron’s carbon tax here now they would demand that you dismount your privileged horse and donate generously so that they are not made to suffer in their daily lives even more than current income disparity already obliges. Subtract 80-95% from your net worth, divde your income by 4-5 and ONLY THEN consider whether a large carbon tax should be enacted. Until then, though, don’t confuse what policy comes to mind from within your gilded perch with what is good and just.

Great Orange Leader is so smart. I rake for FREEDOM! You others just hate how smart our Godly Leader is.

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of another community >> @anon - your callous talk of the necessity of raising taxes to fund planet-saving measures irks me. And your unscientific and illogical rationalizations for doing nothing about literally planet-threatening results of burning coal irks me. "What has posterity ever done for me?"

Posted by Safety Should Be First, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood >> The situation is different when you are talking bushfires. My reference to Australian bushfire standards was twofold: First, Palo Alto Hills, Los Altos Hills, and numerous other developments are actually in similar circumstances to the Australian fire configuration -- right down to the gum trees in some cases. Second, the technology of resisting fire from the outside is the same. It is clear that most Californians, including fire departments, had an incomplete model of how these fires spread during high winds. Typically, pushing back vegetation further and further from houses has been the mantra for the last 50 years. But, it turns out, burning embers frequently travel too far. Nobody would have wanted to live in Paradise if there was no vegetation anywhere within a mile of town or any dwelling. Coffey Park was protected by a freeway with access roads and a low-density suburban shopping district with massive asphalt parking lots on the side where the fire blew from. The point is: buildings have to be fire-resistant in themselves. >> What happened a lot in Oakland, and I suspect in a lot of Coffey Park, is that the single pane windows break from the heat of a fire next door, long before the cladding on the windows is affected, and something inside catches fire, eventually consuming the house. Australian fire standards cover both: metal (or sometimes fire-resistant wood) frames, and windows with 5mm toughened glass. Depending on the level of risk, there are multiple options. There are some uses for UPVC plastic that is self-extinguishing/doesn't support fire. In my reading there seems to be some controversy about UPVC from a structural standpoint, though. There is a lot to learn from these standards. Here is one document: Web Link >> Another big one is that people don't clear their gutters and embers from far away ignite either the roof or the gutter clutter, and that in turn sets the eaves or the roof on fire even if the roof is fire resistant. Agreed. Gutters, vents, and, any kind of opening that can allow burning embers to be blown in. When these events happen, winds are usually strong. In wind-driven rain, a few raindrops blown in don't matter. But, apparently, the evidence is growing that many fires spread into houses through vents and other sideways holes. e.g. Tile roofs that people thought were safe, were not, because they weren't thinking of embers blown by high winds.

> The vulnerability of construction to fire has gotten worse. Perhaps but no one wants to reside in a cinder cone or brick walled house. that would be like living in a prison.

>> your callous talk says the guy/gal who said: "...global warming will be recognized as one of the greatest swindles in world history." Callous, much? Are you still a Denier, Chris Zaharious?

"Perhaps but no one wants to reside in a cinder cone or brick walled house." See the link above for the highly fire resistant homes in Australia - much nicer than most home here.

@Elizabeth a resident of Downtown North on Nov 20, 2018 at 1:32 pm "If I have to evacuate Palo Alto, I'm going to bicycle with the kids in a bike trailer. I refuse to suffocate in gridlock." One of the reasons why the gridlock happened is because the town of Paridise choked it down to one lane to accommodate a bike lane. A lot of people perished because of this. P G & E will point this out, when the investigation is made public.

Posted by Still working at incident, a resident of another community >> One of the reasons why the gridlock happened is because the town of Paridise choked it down to one lane to accommodate a bike lane. A lot of people perished because of this. >> P G & E will point this out, when the investigation is made public. Interesting discussion here, regarding conflict between everyday downtown/shopping experience, and, evacuation requirements.Web Link Interesting thought experiment, though-- if you did build extra evacuation capacity into the street system, would you be able to keep it in reserve? I'm concerned right now about all the streets that I see in Palo Alto that are essentially one-lane due to all the parked cars on both sides of the street. That could have been a real issue if the "Compadres Fire" had gotten out of hand and spread to the apartments. Curtner is jammed with parked cars. Not good in an emergency.

> If I have to evacuate Palo Alto, I'm going to bicycle with the kids in a bike trailer. I refuse to suffocate in gridlock. Breathing all that smokey air while biking out of town won't do you any favors. Suggestion: Get A Harley...maybe even one with a sidecar. You'll be able to zip in and out of traffic leaving the cars and bicyclists in your wake.

@Kick, Actually, one of the many things people learned after Oakland was that it's a good idea for communities to consider the issue of evacuation egress, from the vehicle standpoint, from footpath standpoint, AND from bicycle standpoint, and that having a working bike under some circumstances could end up being the best way to escape. There is no one answer, and it would be truly foolish to think that a bike is THE answer, nevertheless, the community prioritizing safety, thinking through potential scenarios, and considering how evacuations would work in an emergency such as fire after earthquake, will save lives. The City actively blocking off traffic circulation on Arastradero and Foothill (toward Stanford), choking down roads and making hardscape that prevents emergency vehicles from being able to use the medians and other spaces in event of an emergency, is just the height of short-sightedness and will result in deaths in the event of the kind of emergencies this article brings up. Emergency departments here don't have that kind of authority over or with planning, they take their marching orders from others, and safety ends up coming in last. The cognitive dissonance between voting for hundreds of millions for schools and then putting safety last is like the person who puts all their money into cosmetic home renovations but ignores the faulty home foundation on the faultline. It's easy to ignore the safety planning until the home collapses, and then it's too late.

@Chris -- One thing to keep in mind is there are about as many ways to price carbon as there are to generate carbon emissions, namely lots! Some of the important variables are (a) what the government chooses to do with the revenue; and (b) how the pricing evolves over time. Typically prices start out low (well below the cost of the actual carbon pollution, and gradually increase, giving industries and consumers a chance to adapt). And there are many options for doling out the revenue. Some countries give all the money back to the consumers, positioning it more as a carbon rebate. Others give more to green industry, so that consumer prices come down. For many it is a mix. There is a brief but interesting writeup here: Web Link

>> The City actively blocking off traffic circulation on Arastradero and Foothill (toward Stanford), choking down roads and making hardscape that prevents emergency vehicles from being able to use the medians and other spaces in event of an emergency, is just the height of short-sightedness and will result in deaths in the event of the kind of emergencies this article brings up. The signage seems to imply that the purpose of those new dividers is to slow traffic down in the vicinity of a cluster of driveways. Possibly (I'm not sure what will happen in an emergency), we have a conflict between different requirements: - Trying to force people to both slow down and pay attention in a residential area - Greater capacity during an emergency evacuation This is not an easy trade to make, because slower speeds and more careful drivers increase safety everyday, as well as improve quality of life for the people who live there. Also, any increased capacity now will get eaten up by future traffic, making it just as bad or worse during a future emergency. IOW, I don't think it is as simple a case as you do.

Local deli owners to revive Woodside Deli in Redwood CityBy Elena Kadvany | 13 comments | 9,580 views

The holidays are here! From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.

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