Deserts

Six Palm Springs Firefighters to Assist Northern California Fire Crews

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – A half-dozen Palm Springs Fire Department firefighters left Tuesday to assist crews battling a series of lightening-caused fires in the Bay Area. The firefighters were sent to help battle the 25,000-acre SCU Lightning Complex, comprising an estimated 20 separate fires burning in several counties, which collectively sparked about 4 a.m. Sunday. The crew will be assigned to the complex’s Deer Zone, comprising four fires clustered together southwest of Brentwood in Contra Costa County, according to Palm Springs fire Capt. Nathan Gunkel. The fires were 0% contained as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Cal Fire, which said the blazes were burning at a “dangerous rate of speed” within inaccessible terrain amid triple-digit temperatures. Palm Springs sent two battalion chiefs along with a fire engine with four firefighters on board, for a total of six personnel. They are expected to return to the Coachella Valley within two weeks, according to Gunkel, who said they may stay longer if needed.

San Diego Removed From State Watch List; Schools Could Open Sept. 1

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County has officially been removed from the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list, setting in motion a 14-day countdown that could see K-12 students back in the classroom as soon as Sept. 1, depending on the guidance of individual school districts. The announcement comes as San Diego County public health officials reported a case rate of 88.4 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people on Tuesday, below the state’s 100 per 100,000 guideline. No other businesses can reopen until the state provides further guidance. The county will be placed back on the list should it be flagged for exceeding any one of six different metrics for three consecutive days. Those metrics are the case rate, the percentage of positive tests, the average number of tests a county is able to perform daily, changes in the number of hospitalized patients and the percentage of ventilators and intensive care beds available. County health officials reported 202 new positive cases and seven deaths from the illness Tuesday, raising the region’s totals to 35,162 cases and 633 deaths. Two women and five men died between Aug.…

Flex Alert Issued Earlier Wednesday as California faces more electricity shortages-Blackouts possible

The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) which controls electricity flow throughout the state, late Wednesday morning issued an advisory saying a Flex Alert would go into effect earlier today. Because of extreme demand on the state’s electrical supplies, the Flex Alert will begin at 2:00PM Wednesday, compared to 3:00PM in previous days.  The alert, which calls for customers including those in the Coachella Valley to voluntarily curtail electricity usage, will remain in effect until 9:00PM Wednesday. Cal ISO stated that with the state’s unprecedented heat now in its sixth day, demand will rise earlier in the day.  “Rotating power outages are still possible if system conditions don’t improve. However, expected outages on Monday and Tuesday were prevented partly by consumers using less electricity in the most critical time of the afternoon and early evening, when temperatures remain high and solar production drops.” Conservation efforts during these times can prevent more dire measures, such as rotating power outages, or generator equipment failures that can lead to more serious unplanned losses of power. Last Friday and Saturday hundreds of thousands of PG&E and Southern California Edison…

Apple Fire Almost Fully Contained, Firefighters Dealing with Hot Weather

CHERRY VALLEY (CNS) – Firefighters Wednesday moved closer to full containment of the Apple Fire, which has burned 33,424 acres, mostly in the San Bernardino National Forest, as crews focused on monitoring and patrolling fire lines and extinguishing hot spots. Containment of the fire is at 95%. Firefighters are working in extreme heat and steep terrain, and an excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service is in effect until 10 p.m. Thursday. High-intensity thunderstorm cells fueled by monsoonal moisture developed over the San Bernardino National Forest early Tuesday afternoon and were tracking to the north, looking as though they would stall over the portion of the burn scar close to Forest Falls in San Bernardino County. However, several hours later, radar returns showed the cells veered sharply to the northwest, with most of the energy shifting away from the fire zone. Meteorologists had feared flash flooding would occur on the northern tier of the burn scar, eventually impacting the southern half as well, within the San Gorgonio Pass. The U.S. Forest Service released a burn severity map Tuesday highlighting the corrosive impacts of…

Palm Springs Battalion Chief to Assist Northern California Fire Crews

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – A Palm Springs Fire Department battalion chief left Tuesday to assist crews battling a series of lightening-caused fires in the Bay Area. The battalion chief, who is one of four at the department, will be assigned to the Deer Zone Fire, which is burning southwest of Brentwood in Contra Costa County, according to Palm Springs fire Capt. Nathan Gunkel. It’s one of 20 separate wildland fires that make up the SCU Lightning Complex, which sparked collectively about 4 a.m. Sunday, and have charred 25,000 total acres as of Tuesday morning, according to Cal Fire, which said the blazes were burning at a “dangerous rate of speed” within inaccessible terrain amid triple-digit temperatures. The Palm Springs battalion chief, whose name was not released, left the Coachella Valley about 10 a.m. and will be acting as a safety officer once on scene, Gunkel said. He will be gone for up to two weeks, Gunkel said. A safety officer is responsible for being on the lookout for any unsafe behavior exhibited by firefighters, inspecting equipment, ordering repairs for equipment deemed unsafe, along with other…

Los Angeles schools launch Covid-19 testing and tracing program for all students and staff

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is launching an extensive program to provide regular Covid-19 testing and contact tracing to all students and staff, and to families of those who test positive. Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a press release Sunday the effort was “unprecedented” but necessary to safely reopen schools. “This will provide a public health benefit to the school community, as well as the greater Los Angeles area,” he said. LAUSD is the country’s second-largest school district with more than 600,000 students. The district is beginning the new school year without in-person classes as Covid-19 continues to spread widely in California and in the Los Angeles area. Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Beutner said the testing and tracing program was simply following the science. “Science has told us children can carry the virus and those without symptoms can spread the virus, and we know schools bring together many families and many multi-generational households,” he said. “So if we want to keep schools from becoming a petri dish and we want to keep all in the school community safe, we need to test and trace at schools.” The…

Power Grid Failure Causes some to Blame Solar

There’s a push to go solar but have we pushed it too far? Senator Melissa Melendez says yes. On Facebook she posted: “California’s residential electric power rates are 55.8% higher than the average of other states. CA’s commercial power rates are 69.7% higher than those of other states. CA’s industrial rates are 115% higher. Alternative energy technologies aren’t the golden ticket. They are intermittent and unpredictable since they depend on the weather. Also, at the large scale needed, storage is simply not a viable option. Supply and demand have to be equal on the electrical grid, when you add new energy, say from solar, existing energy has to be taken off. All of these things, in the end add up to one thing. Increased cost for the consumer. All in the the name of the misguided pursuit of 100% renewable energy.” Renova Solar CEO Vincent Battaglia said is some ways, she’s right. “Solar technology was built so that those portable tech panels can go up on small spaces,” Battaglia said. “It wasn’t built for large scale out in a field.” Solar “farms” are the new…

Lightning Sparks 100+ Acre Fire in Joshua Tree

San Bernardino County Fire officials are working to contain a vegetation fire in Joshua Tree as a result of lightning. As of 2:05 PM Tuesday the blaze spread to over 100 acres. At last update officials said the rate of spread had slowed and some backup units were called off. JOSHUA TREE: #SBCoFD responding to numerous VEG FIRES as result of #lighting from storms moving through area. Largest near 4th St/Cascade Rd. 5 acres MROS thru light fuels. ^eas — SB County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) August 18, 2020 This is a developing story. Stay with NBC Palm Springs for more updates.

California to challenge latest DACA restrictions in court

California is planning to bring a new challenge to the recent changes the Trump administration made to the Obama-era program that shields certain undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced in a court filing Tuesday that the state and others “expect to bring challenges” to a new policy for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that limits renewals to one year instead of two and prohibits new DACA applications. The Supreme Court in June blocked the Trump administration’s previous attempt to end the DACA program. At the end of last month, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf issued the new rules, saying they were needed as the administration studies the DACA program as a whole. Though Wolf stopped short of ending the program altogether, he appeared to be laying the groundwork for further restrictions or termination. “I have concluded that the DACA policy, at a minimum, presents serious policy concerns that may warrant its full rescission,” Wolf wrote. Earlier in July, a federal judge in Maryland said that the administration must begin to accept new applications for DACA. In his order,…

National Weather Service Issues Warning for Apple Fire Burn Scar Area

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning within the northern section of the Apple Fire burn scar because of heavy thunderstorms building over the San Bernardino National Forest. Potentially damaging debris flows are expected in Forest Falls and other parts of San Bernardino County. However, flows could also go into the southern end of the burn area, in the Banning Pass, according to the Weather Service. This Flash Flood Warning INCLUDES the Apple Fire burn scar. There is a threat of potentially life-threatening debris flows. Follow directions from law enforcement and emergency personnel, and evacuate if told to do so. #cawx https://t.co/sZIKUWPNPx — NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) August 18, 2020 These shots were taken by Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, looking at the thunderstorm over Hemet. #cawx pic.twitter.com/X6JfAnzHE6 — NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) August 18, 2020

710 New Coronavirus Cases, 1 New Death Reported Tuesday in Riverside County

Riverside County health officials are reporting 710 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1 additional death, bringing the countywide totals to 48,200 cases and 913 deaths. There are 150 new cases in the Coachella Valley and 1 new death. Here are the numbers for the Coachella Valley city-by-city: Desert Hot Springs: 966 (+5) cases, 20 deaths Cathedral City: 1,694 (+19) cases, 27 deaths Palm Springs: 928 (+16) cases, 41 deaths Rancho Mirage: 219 (+2) cases, 19 deaths Palm Desert: 896 (+5) cases, 47 deaths Indian Wells: 42 cases, 2 deaths La Quinta: 695 (+9) cases, 16 deaths Indio: 3,207 (+35) cases, 64 deaths Coachella: 2,312 (+37) cases, 21 deaths Thousand Palms: 194 (+4) cases, no deaths Bermuda Dunes: 119 (+5) cases, 3 deaths Thermal: 155 (+3) cases, no deaths Mecca: 392 (+5) cases, 8 deaths North Shore: 113 (+1) cases, 1 death Oasis: 294 (+3) cases, 3 (+1) death Sky Valley: 38 cases, 1 death Cabazon: 44  cases, 1 death Anza: 12 (+1) cases, no deaths At this time age group, 18-39 continues to have the highest number of confirmed cases in the county with 20,316…

New research lab in Desert Hot Springs will deal with cannabis medicine

 Long before Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals, Desert Hot Springs had been the leader in marijuana cultivation in the state, now the city is hoping this massive new site will not only bring jobs to the city, but change the perception. Mark Crozier, the CEO of Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals — wants to make it clear that his three-million-square foot facility is not a dispensary, they’re focused on science, research and development. The company is already the first in the nation to get a government contract to work on medicine derived from THC and CBD. As of now the company is working on getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration. “Nobody has done clinicals, nobody knows the attributes. Nobody will know what it will or won’t do, that’s what we are going to prove or disprove,” said Crozier. The facility will manufacture non-addictive medicine and will be used to treat veterans and first responders that suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.  “Unfortunately for a lot of people the opioid addiction, the pain medication, everyone gave soldiers opioids and now we have a huge opioid problem with veterans,” …

IID Warns Coachella Valley Residents to Conserve Energy, or Risk Blackouts

PALM DESERT (CNS) – As a blistering heat wave continues to generate high electricity demand statewide, the Imperial Irrigation District Monday urged its customers to conserve power, warning that failure to do so could result in blackouts. “During this time of intense heat that is affecting all of the state, we ask our customers to do their part to help our grid by conserving energy where possible,” IID Energy Manager Marilyn del Bosque Gilbert said this afternoon. “This will go a long way in helping the local grid and avoiding service interruptions.” The district offered a series of tips for reducing energy consumption, including: — turning off all unnecessary lights; — setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher when at home; — using shades, blinds or drapes to block the sun from overheating the home; — using floor or ceiling fans to cool off, and turning them off when leaving the room; and — avoiding use of appliances like washers, dryers and dishwashers, pool pumps and some industrial equipment, between peak hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Officials said that in the event that…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!