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Environment

Possible Wildfire Outcomes Summer 2021

in Environment

Wildfires have become an expected hazard during the summers in California. Recent information from Government institutions divulge potential outcomes for the summer of 2021 wildfire season.

California is famous for its mountain ranges; people travel from all over the world to visit places like Yosemite. California locals enjoy day trips to small towns ranging all throughout the foothills and higher elevations. In the past five years, due to the brutal destruction caused by wildfires, these towns and natural wonders have been in grave danger. This has been true more so in recent years than ever recorded previously. The fire season brings anxiety to those who live in the mid- to -high elevation towns along the Sierra Nevada’s.

CSU English Major Alyssa Schaffer (senior) and her family live in a state of uncertainty during the summer months being residents of Angels Camp, “The fire season causes a great deal of anxiety for me and my family…I always have a ‘go bag’ packed with important documents, pictures, and a few pairs of clothes during peak fire season,” Schaffer adds, “We get such short notice when it comes to fires, so we are always planning for worst case scenarios.”

Last summer, when Californians sought refuge in the outdoors to escape the confinement of COVID, many much needed outdoor adventures had to be cancelled because of the fires. Turlock local Cody Malmberg, after being stuck inside for months had planned and looked forward to a trip to Kennedy Meadows in early August 2020, but was sorely disappointed when a few days before a fire started in the Stanislaus National Forest east of Pinecrest.

Continue Reading on CSUsignal

Farmers Seek Options for Wood Disposal, California Farm Bureau Federation Reports

in Environment

Grape grower Chris Gillespie looks over one of many piles of recently removed zinfandel vines at his Acampo farm. Gillespie and his father, Curt, say no viable option exists for disposal of these vines other than burning, because of the steel wires enmeshed in the vines. The California Air Resources Board has voted to phase out most agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley by 2025.
Photo/Kevin Hecteman

March 8, 2021 - By Kevin Hecteman - Curt Gillespie and his son Chris have tall piles of grapevines awaiting disposal at their Acampo farm. The piles won't be going anywhere for a while.

There has been an uptick in vineyard removals in the area, resulting in a backlog of burn requests being made to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Now, the California Air Resources Board has voted to require virtually all agricultural burning to be phased out by Jan. 1, 2025. The board's action, taken unanimously last week, affects eight counties under the jurisdiction of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern.

Continue Reading on Sierra Sun Times

Reducing Dust During Almond Harvest—A Big Goal of the Industry

in Environment

Brian Wahlbrink is with Sperry Farms in Stanislaus County and Vice Chairman of the Almond Board as well as being the chair of the Almond Board’s Harvest Working Group—focused on reducing dust.

“This is the real gritty and dirty group, who gets the pleasure of focusing on the major goal of trying to reduce harvest dust by 50% by 2025. But I think we've already learned that progress is never a straight line,” said Wahlbrink. “You know, when it comes to these initiatives, I've loved being involved with this group. It's such a diverse group. We have such an exciting future. We have growers, handlers, researchers, and there's eight orchard equipment companies on this group. It's remarkable,” he said.

“We had eight competing companies come into this room and talk about the betterment of the industry. It's really amazing. And I so appreciate everybody doing that. And we have so much participation. You know, this year, the main focus was the existing equipment. We were talking about conditioners. We were talking about the Low-dust harvesters,” noted Wahlbrink.

Continue Reading on AGinfo

Rural California Communities Struggle To Provide Clean Drinking Water

in Environment

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003.

The struggle, however, has been all uphill.

The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012, mostly for arsenic and 1,2,3 trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), a manufactured chemical found in industrial solvents and soil fumigants, according to data from the State Water Resources Control Board.

Long-term exposure to both contaminants has been linked to numerous types of cancer by the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Continue Reading on SF Gate

Big Trees State Park adjusts operations amidst ongoing pandemic

in Environment

In a year of dislocating pandemic and destructive wildfire, it’s nice to get out into nature and take a break from the news.

But even the ancient redwood groves of Calaveras Big Trees State Park have not been immune from the events of 2020.

For about two months beginning on March 26, the park was completely closed to vehicular traffic in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, though walking and biking into the park were still allowed.

“We did this mainly to reduce the visitation surges that we would normally see,” California State Parks Spokeswoman Adeline Yee said. “We had to reduce large crowds and destination travel, which is still not encouraged right now. Because of the stay-at-home order, we were asking people to stay local.”

Continue Reading on Calaveras Enterprise

Parks reopen as Stanislaus County remains in widespread COVID-19 tier

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The California Department of Public Health has given the greenlight for parks and playgrounds to reopen statewide, regardless of what tier the counties are in currently.

The authorization was granted Monday and is only for outdoor parks and playgrounds. It also comes with a lengthy list of rules designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Playgrounds that are allowed to open must be fully outdoors, free to enter and use, and publicly accessible.

Visitors to outdoor community playgrounds must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Face masks over the mouth and nose are required for everyone 2 years of age or older with caregiver supervision at all times to ensure face mask use.
  2. Do not use the playground when different households are unable to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or when the capacity limit has been reached.
  3. Caregivers must monitor to keep adults and children from different households at least 6 feet apart.
  4. Consider coming on different times or days to avoid wait times and potential crowded times.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

‘It’s almost a joke.’ In rural California, Newsom’s gas-powered car ban is a stretch

in Environment

It’s a long drive to just about anywhere Gary Wright needs to go. A rancher in the far northeastern corner of California, he sometimes has to drive nearly 100 miles, one-way, to get to where his cattle graze. It’s 36 miles to Klamath Falls, Ore., for a significant errand run.

There are only a few gas stations along the routes through the forests and high deserts in Modoc County — let alone electric vehicle charging stations. There are none near the rangeland where Wright’s cattle graze.

So he was baffled when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that California would require all new passenger cars and trucks to be electric or “zero-emission” by 2035 to combat climate change.

Continue Reading on The Sacramento Bee

California Wants Cars to Run on Electricity. It’s Going to Need a Much Bigger Grid

in Environment

Leaning on the hood of a shiny red electric Ford Mustang, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday to end the sale of new gas-burning cars in his state in 15 years.

Now comes the hard part.

Energy consultants and academics say converting all passenger cars and trucks to run on electricity in California could raise power demand by as much as 25%. That poses a major challenge for a state already facing periodic rolling blackouts as it rapidly transitions to renewable energy.

California will need to boost power generation, scale up its network of fast charging stations, enhance its electric grid to handle the added load and hope that battery technology continues to improve enough that millions in America’s most populous state can handle long freeway commutes to schools and offices without problems.

Continue Reading on WSJ

Stanislaus National Forest reopens after two-week closure

in Environment

The Stanislaus National Forest, closed two weeks ago by federal authorities due to the threat of wildfires, is open again for day use from dawn to sundown with no fires allowed anywhere in the 1,400-square-mile area, which includes 42 percent of the land in Tuolumne County and 11 percent of Calaveras County.

An updated closure order was issued Sunday morning by federal forest administrators in Vallejo, Solano County, in the north Bay Area.

Fire restrictions remain in effect at all elevations in the Stanislaus National Forest.

The restrictions “prohibit using any ignition sources, including campfires, propane or gel-fuel stoves and smoking materials,” Forest Service communications staff said.
Continue Reading on Union Democrat

Wildfires continue to burn in coastal range

in Environment

Wildfires continued to burn through the hills and canyons of the coastal mountain range overlooking the West Side earlier this week.

The SCU Lightning Complex, which includes the Canyon Zone fire that started in Del Puerto Canyon Aug. 16, has grown to be one of the largest wildfires in California history.

As of Tuesday morning, the complex had burned nearly 364,000 acres in Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Alameda, Merced and San Benito counties, according to Cal Fire, and was only 15 percent contained.

The Canyon Zone is the largest of the three fire zones which comprise the SCU Lightning Fire Complex.

Continue Reading on West Side Connect

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