Tag: wildfire

Inside a tech-driven rebuilding shop for wildfire victims

Thousands of Californians have lost their homes to wildfires, and communities are struggling to figure out how to rebuild. Nikki Pechet wants to be the person they turn to.

Pechet co-founded Homebound Inc. in 2018 after the Tubbs fire the year before destroyed 4,600 homes in Northern California, envisioning the company as a more efficient general contractor for rebuilding disaster zones.

Her tech-driven approach to the painful process of collecting insurance money and rebuilding has drawn more than $50 million of venture capital, with backers including GV, Alphabet Inc.’s investment arm and billionaire Vinod Khosla’s eponymous firm.

It’s a strategy she says could also be useful for people who want a turnkey solution for designing and constructing a house anywhere — disaster or not.

“The opportunity is huge,” Pechet said, adding that there are billions of dollars in property damage from natural disasters each year in the U.S. “The goal

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Lab develops unprecedented long-term wildfire prediction model

Argonne develops unprecedented long-term wildfire prediction model
Wildfires burn across the West, affecting California, Oregon and Washington. Credit: Shutterstock / My Photo Buddy

Wildfire indices and high-resolution climate models combine to produce a detailed historical analysis of wildfire events across the U.S. and suggest the potential for more severe and frequent fires in the latter half of the century.


The list is long, some of the names familiar: Sunflower, Paradise, Whitewater-Baldy, Apple, Pinecreek. Names that invoke images of pastoral respites away from the busy world.

Now those names are synonymous with wildfires.

The number and severity of wildfires are making headlines across the globe, from the Western United States to Brazil, from Siberia to Australia. Wildfires devastate the environment, decimating huge swaths of land and wildlife populations—it is estimated, for example, that a half billion animals perished in the megafires that recently swept Australia. Beyond their impact on nature, wildfires also take a toll on air quality,

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SpaceX Starlink brings Internet to emergency responders in wildfire areas

Pictures of a SpaceX broadband-satellite dish and wildfire-ravaged areas of Washington State.
Enlarge / A Starlink user terminal and wildfire-devastated areas seen in images shared by Washington state’s Emergency Management Division.

SpaceX Starlink is providing Internet access to Washington state emergency responders in areas ravaged by wildfires. The group has deployed seven Starlink user terminals (i.e. satellite dishes) since it began using the service in early August, as CNBC reported yesterday:

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up, and anywhere near as reliable” as Starlink, Richard Hall, the emergency telecommunications leader of the Washington State Military Department’s IT division, told CNBC in an interview Monday.

The broadband service has helped both emergency responders and families in wildfire-stricken areas. Hall “has set up terminals in areas that were burned severely to provide evacuated families with wireless calling and Internet access to file insurance claims,” CNBC wrote. Hall said he also “did setup to

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NASA observations aid efforts to track California’s wildfire smoke from space

NASA observations aid efforts to track California's wildfire smoke from space
On Aug. 31, MODIS detected several hotspots in the August Complex Fire in California, as well as several other actively burning areas to the north, west, and south. Credit: R. Kahn/K.J. Noyes/NASA Goddard/A. Nastan/JPL Caltech/J. Tackett/J-P Vernier/NASA Langley

Wildfires have been burning across the state of California for weeks—some of them becoming larger complexes as different fires merge. One of those was the August Complex Fire, which reportedly began as 37 distinct fires caused by lightning strikes in northern California on Aug. 17. That fire is still burning over a month later.


The August Complex Fire and others this fire season have been sending far-reaching plumes of wildfire smoke into the atmosphere that worsen air quality in California and beyond. Predicting where that smoke will travel and how bad the air will be downwind is a challenge, but Earth-observing satellites can help. Included among them are NASA’s Terra and CALIPSO

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California, Oregon business owners on the existential threat of wildfire

  • The recent blazing wildfires on the West Coast have burned through businesses and ruined livelihoods.
  • Small companies are particularly at risk: Many have closed down because of fire damage, and may never re-open.
  • “The Almeda fire took our home and our business,” said Phoenix Sigalove, a food truck owner in Ashland, Oregon.
  • School-owner Lola Conde Danforth in Ashland told Business Insider that although the school building is still intact, the hazardous smoke has forced her to close its doors.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The current wildfire season in California and Oregon has been the worst to date, killing more than 30 people, destroying nearly 10,000 structures, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes, and incinerating more than a million acres. Many businesses that are still standing have suffered from structural damage, reduced income, and job insecurity.

The total cost of the damage and destruction

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Firefighter Debunks Wildfire Conspiracies On TikTok

Hawaii firefighter Michael Clark is winning fans’ hearts thanks to his viral TikTok debunk videos about the West Coast wildfires.

Posted on September 20, 2020, at 5:28 p.m. ET


Courtesy of Michael Clark

Michael Clark is a 27-year-old firefighter working in Oahu, Hawaii.

He’s now in his third year of fighting fires, having previously worked at the Grand Canyon and in Utah.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick with it for the rest of my life,” he told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview on Sunday.

One thing Clark doesn’t like, though, is watching the coverage of the devastating West Coast wildfires and seeing unfounded conspiracy theories go viral online.

In recent weeks, people have suggested without real evidence that the fires have been set by far-left antifa activists and people using powerful lasers. The online misinformation has had real world consequences: In Oregon,

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Satellite images show what happens when wildfire smoke meets hurricanes

(Images courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory)

The catastrophic wildfires on the West Coast have generated an enormous amount of smoke that have darkened skies across the Bay Area and ruined the air quality around other cities. Prevailing winds have carried that smoke across the United States where it ran into another hazard — Hurricanes Paulette and Sally.

Over a three-day span shown in these images that started Sept. 14, the hurricanes initially kept the skies on the East Coast clear, but as the smoke moved forward, Paulette blocked the smoke and kept it in the Northeast, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. By Sept. 16, the storm system dissipated and the plume moved farther into the Atlantic. Elsewhere, the NASA images show Hurricane Sally pushing the smoke northward as it flooded the Southeastern United States.

The NASA images above show an abundance and distribution of black carbon. NASA says it is

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Stirring image captures intersection of historic hurricane, wildfire seasons

As the wildfires in the western United States encroach upon neighboring states, the smoke has invaded airspace stretching into the eastern half of the country. Meanwhile, Hurricane Sally recently weakened near the Louisiana coastline from a Category 2 storm to a Category 1, but forecasters say the exact strength won’t likely change the battering it is starting to unleash along the Gulf Coast.

AccuWeather Senior On-Air Meteorologist Adam Del Rosso posted a NOAA satellite image Monday evening on Twitter, highlighting the overlap of the wildfire smoke and two Atlantic hurricanes churning nearby.

The satellite imagery of the U.S. shows how the dense smoke from the wildfires spawned in the West has fanned out and drifted into the Eastern skies of the country. To the south of the smoke is Hurricane Sally, which had been downgraded from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 1 before the time of the image.

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Apple pledges additional donations to West Coast wildfire relief

Apple is donating additional funds toward wildfire fighting and recovery efforts on the West Coast, CEO Tim Cook said Friday.

In August, the Cupertino tech giant pledged to donate to wildfire relief efforts in California. While those original flames have largely been contained, more fires have started up and down the West Coast during what is one of the worst fire seasons in history.

Cook in a tweet said that Apple would be providing more money to firefighting and recovery, and that the fires are “an urgent reminder that we must act together to protect the plane we all share.”

States such

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Animated Map Visualizes 100 Years Of Increasing Wildfire Destruction In California

Since the middle of August 2020, hundreds of wildfires have been burning in California, from near the Mexico border to the forests of the Sierra Nevada. Record-high temperatures in addition of strong winds further energized the flames, prompting the fires to spread rapidly and sending plumes of ash and smoke into the skies across several states. A satellite image taken Monday showed smoke blowing as far east as Kansas.

Historically, fire season in California peaks in October during drought peak. But as temperatures rise, extreme drought conditions will occur earlier in the year. Average temperatures statewide rose by 1.8°C since 1980, while precipitation dropped by 30%. That doubled the number of autumn days that offer extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires. Climate models estimate that average state temperatures will climb by 2 to

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