BREAKING: Fire in Willits just reported on scanner about 4pm. No further info.
WE LOST POWER at 5:45pm Saturday, and as of 3pm Monday, we’re still mostly incommunicado. We’ll be posting our usual array of essential information and piercing insights, but we will not be printing our paper-paper this week, the first print edition we’ve missed publishing in forty years. It’s been a perfect storm of impossibilities for the paper-paper this week. First the blackout; then Healdsburg Printing ’s entire crew was evacuated and locked out of their print shop and, perhaps worst of all, the lady who puts the paper together, the remarkable Renee Wyant, is stuck in Portland. Those of you who get the paper-paper, look for it on November 6th and, like, whenever outside the Anderson Valley.
EMBLEMATIC of this unprecedented event — first evacuation of this size since the 1906 Earthquake, and ’06 didn’t displace anywhere near the million people of this fire storm — at exactly 1:45pm Monday afternoon a fuel tanker truck appeared at the Redwood Drive-In. Almost simultaneously, traffic backed up in front of AVA headquarters as motorists magically appeared to fill up their tanks.
DRIVING north Sunday morning between Santa Rosa and Windsor, the wind buffeted my car and the thick, dark, debris-hurling smoke enveloped me. Surprised that the highway was still open, I wasn’t surprised it was closed in both directions soon after. Then, approaching Cloverdale, all was serene, and it was late Fall again on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, all sunshine and golden poplars and kaleidoscopic reds in the maples. Ordinarily not a praying man, I hoped the people at the front of this roaring monster would survive battling it.
WILL GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S tough talk about “the greed and incompetence” of PG&E result in the monopoly for-profit becoming, at last, a public utility run in the primary interest of the public it “serves’? Add to PG&E’s list of wildly overpaid executives, the millions of our dollars they’ve doled out to shareholders, and the many millions they’ve distributed to our professional officeholders over the years. Take their money and vote against them? We’ll see.
WE’LL be telling stories about this catastrophe until the next one which, people who study these things say, will occur regularly from here on. The new normal, they say.
10/28 update, 2:30pm: Local PG&E crews are reporting that Mendo's power lines are clear, but transmission lines into the County remain under inspection with no firm time or date for "re-energizing." The present view is that power may -- MAY -- be restored sometime Monday night, transmission equipment permitting, but if it's not, then the power shut-off will probably remain in place until later in the week, after the anticipated Tuesday/Wednesay "wind event" after which the re-start of the re-energization will take another day or two. We will continue to post restoration updates as internet connection and info permits.
Local residents coming back from Ukiah are saying that the line for gas at the Ukiah Costco is so long that you might run out of gas waiting to get gas.
The "Burris" fire outside of Potter Valley is also being called the "Compost" fire. Apparently, some compost piles at Cold Creek Compost are burning and will take some time to extinguish as they continue to smolder and smoke.
Mendo's three hospitals in Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg are open on backup power. Some critical patients may still need to be taken further away, such as to Santa Rosa Memorial which is also open and accepting patients.
Update: PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff Restoration for October 26, 2019 through October 28, 2019 Event
Post Date: 10/27/2019 2:10 PM
The County of Mendocino has been continually monitoring the scope of the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event occurring in Mendocino County. PG&E estimates that over 946,000 customers have been de-energized state-wide. This event is very dynamic, and the County is dependent on PG&E to provide accurate, updated information that can be shared with the public. The County continues to monitor both this PSPS event, as well as fires in neighboring communities, and will continue to communicate information as it becomes available.
Please remember that a Red Flag Warning is in effect today through Monday throughout Northern California due to gusty winds and low humidity. This is critical fire weather and caution should be used when outdoors.
On 10-26-2019 PG&E completed its de-energization of the majority of Mendocino County and will anticipate providing the “all clear” notification to begin restoration of power to those areas on 10-27-2019 around 4 pm in northern Mendocino and on 10-28-2019 around 6 am in southern Mendocino.The exact restoration time for the specific areas/communities of Mendocino County is unknown at this time and PG&E restoration efforts will occur only during daytime hours.
Important Information From PG&E About Restoration
• Restoring power
◦ Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided.
◦ Given the prolonged period during which the wind event will unfold, and the large number of power line miles that will need to be inspected before restoration, customers are being asked to prepare for an extended outage.
◦ PG&E will work with state and local agencies to provide updated restoration timelines following the conclusion of the severe weather event.
• Inspection and Restoration
◦ It’s important for all customers to have an emergency plan to be prepared for any extended outages due to extreme weather or natural disasters.
◦ Each situation will be somewhat different, just like each day’s weather.
◦ After the extreme weather has passed and it is safe to do so, our crews will work to visually inspect each mile of our power lines to ensure they are free from damage and safe to energize.
◦ Inspections will take place during daylight hours and, in most cases, we would expect to be able to restore power within 24 to 48 hours after extreme weather has passed.
◦ However, depending on weather conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours.
◦ For planning purposes, we suggest customers prepare for multiple-day outages.
◦ Steps to restoration include:
▪ Weather All Clear - After the extreme weather has passed and it’s safe to do so, our crews can go into the field to begin patrols and inspections.
▪ Patrol and Inspect
▪ Our crews will work to visually inspect our power lines to look for potential weather-related damage to the lines, poles and towers. This is done by vehicle, foot and air.
▪ Visual inspections are necessary since circuit breakers, reclosing devices and fuses that are typically used to help detect any potential damage from a weather event like a winter storm are also de-energized during a Public Safety Power Shutoff for safety reasons.
▪ There are many challenges we face during inspections:
▪ Some locations require workers to travel on narrow access roads. In locations with no vehicle access, crews might need to hike in remote and mountainous areas to inspect equipment.
▪ At night, we can’t fly helicopters for visual inspections.
▪ Isolate and Repair Damaged Equipment
▪ Where equipment damage is found, crews will work to isolate the damaged area from the rest of the system so other parts of the system can be restored.
▪ Where equipment damage is found, crews work safely and as quickly as possible to make repairs.
▪ Once the poles, towers and lines are deemed safe to energize, a call is made to the PG&E Control Center to complete the energization process.
▪ Power is then restored to customers.
▪ Customer Notification
▪ Customers are notified that power has been restored
For more information, please contact the Executive Office at 707-463-4441. The County of Mendocino anticipates being open to serve our constituents for the duration of this event. Please keep in mind that some County facilities may be without power, which may re-direct services to other locations. The County will notify or communicate any potential service changes, should they occur.
Mendocino County Offices Open Tomorrow and Services are Available During the Public Safety Power Shut Off
Post Date: 10/27/2019 8:22 PM
Mendocino County offices are open tomorrow and County services will be available. The County’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. All emergency services will continue to be provided 24 hours a day. In the event of a prolonged power outage some County facilities may be without power. The County will notify the community of any potential service changes or re-direction of services to other locations should they occur. Department specific contact information and addresses can be found online at www.mendocinocounty.org.
For more information, please contact the Executive Office at 707-463-4441. For updated County information on the public safety power shut off, please visit www.mendocinocounty.org/psps or follow the County on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mendocinocounty and twitter https://twitter.com/countymendocino
OTHER timely news and announcements:
Local Food and Power
by Barbara Goodell
In a way the summer garden, our fruit and nut trees/vines, and our preserved foods are like batteries as the they use the sun to produce their leaves and blossoms and store energy and seed in the fruit. Some local farm stands still had some of their bounty for the last few days of October and AV Foodshed’s C’mon Home To Eat— was especially important when the electrical grid is out. You can plan ahead this winter to charge your own garden batteries next spring, summer, and fall.
The Chestnut Gathering will be happening at the Zeni Ranch on November 2nd rain or shine, PG&E power or not. More details are on the AV Foodshed website at www.avfoodshed.com.