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UPDATE: Wind-Whipped Big Sur Wildfire Grows to 1,500 Acres, Blaze Erupts Near Geysers Peak in Sonoma

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CARMEL (CBS SF/AP) — Winds topping 65 mph roared through Northern California early Saturday fueling a wildfire racing through the hills in the Palo Colorado Canyon near Big Sur, forcing evacuations and a blaze near Geysers Peak in Sonoma County.

By 8 a.m., officials said the Colorado Canyon fire had grown to at least 1,500 acres and was just 5 percent contained.

The National Weather Service has issued high wind warnings and advisories throughout Northern California until 11 a.m. Saturday. Gusts topping 70 mph howled over Mt. Diablo and wind speed readings of 60 mph or more were common throughout the region.

The blustery conditions quickly spread the two wildfires. Cal Fire officials reported that crews were responding to a wildfire in the Palo Colorado Canyon north of Big Sur around 7:30 p.m.

The flames spread quickly among the hillsides still tinder-dry from months of drought conditions. Rains in late December had eased through conditions, but January has been extremely dry again.

“Fire has remained stubbornly active overnight,” National Weather Service forecasters said. “Pictures on social media suggest some pretty surreal fire behavior given the wet Oct and Dec that was observed across the region with multiple atmospheric river events. Looking at historical fire data it appears the fire is burning south of Palo Colorado and towards Bixby Creek along Long Ridge in an area with little or no fire history.”

“Anecdotally, it seems as though the long-term drought is acting like a chronic illness where even recent rains and cold winter weather isn`t helping to keep fires from developing.”

By 11 p.m. mandatory evacuation orders had been issued with a American Red Cross shelter being set up at Carmel Middle School. Residents quickly fled on roadways covered by clouds of blowing embers. The flames jumped Highway 1, burning below the famed Bixby Bridge and were visible from as far away as the famed Pebble Beach golf links.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 1 at Rio Road just outside of Carmel-by-the-Sea due to the fire. From south of the fire, Highway 1 was closed at Andrew Molera State Park, just north of Big Sur.

The area affected by the evacuations was for residents living along Palo Colorado Road from Highway 1 east to the Rocky Creek Bridge and Bixby Creek Road. It was not immediately known how many homes were being threatened in the rural area.

See Evacution Zone Map

“Looking back at last evening the fire appeared to start during the peak offshore winds and very low humidity,” the weather service said. “The strongest offshore winds have now ended in the vicinity of the Colorado Fire. As of 3 a.m., the current weather is showing relative humidity values 42-52% with southerly winds around 5 mph. These light south winds will represent a potential change that residents and firefighters should monitor today.”

Video showed a wall of flames roaring across the picturesque hillsides while Cal Fire deployed assets from as far away as the Bay Area. Cal Fire’s CZU unit in San Mateo County sent 4 fire engines to help battle the blaze.

Meanwhile, a second wind-swept fire erupted in the hills near Geysers Peak Road after midnight. It grew to about 5 acres before responding crews were able to get a handle on the blaze.

The #GeyserFire above Alexander Valley burns on Geyser Peak, Saturday, pushed by 70-80mph offshore winds. Fire is out, unknown acreage. The area has received over a dozen inches of rain this winter and was under a coating of snow just a month ago. @NorthBayNews @NWSBayArea #CAwx pic.twitter.com/zCfGXDIAHw

— Kent Porter (@kentphotos) January 22, 2022

#GeysersFire (Geysers Peak, Sonoma Co) – IC reporting 3-5 acres moving downhill away from the repeater site towards the south, significant winds, slow-moderate rate of spread. No evacuations needed & no obvious signs of powerlines down. pic.twitter.com/HvpMMCUtiJ

— CA Fire Scanner (@CAFireScanner) January 22, 2022

© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

Article: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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A First As the World Warms: New Forecasts Could Help Predict Marine Heat Waves

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Scientists have developed a new system to predict when and where marine heatwave is likely to develop.

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Collisions Cause Major Traffic Backups in Bothell and Arlington

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Traffic in the Puget Sound region came to a stop Wednesday morning due to two separate incidents, one in Bothell and the other near Arlington. On southbound Interstate 405 in Bothell, a collision near Highway 527 closed the two right lanes, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced on Twitter. The resulting traffic backup is […]

Source Here: seattletimes.com

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DISH Network to Pay $5.5M Settlement Over Alleged Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Satellite TV provider DISH Network will pay $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of illegally disposing of hazardous waste in Alameda County and elsewhere in the state.

DISH Network is alleged to have violated California environmental laws by sending hazardous waste to local landfills that are not equipped or authorized to receive the waste.

According to state Attorney General Rob Bonta, audits of DISH facilities in California found that DISH repeatedly disposed of hazardous waste since 2005 in violation of the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Unfair Competition Law.

“If you break the rules, we will hold you accountable,” said Bonta in a press release. “For years, DISH carelessly disposed of and sent hazardous waste to local landfills, ignoring the consequences for our communities and our environment. From there, hazardous chemical elements from electronic devices, batteries, aerosols, and more could seep into soil and contaminate our environment. Today’s settlement is critical. Large corporations like DISH have a responsibility to respect our environmental laws and do their part to protect our state’s precious resources.”

“My Office is committed to holding corporate polluters accountable for violations of state environmental laws,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in a statement. “Hazardous electronic waste is ubiquitous, and everyone must do their part to keep these items out of the landfill, especially large corporations who handle high volumes of electronic waste.”

As a provider of TV and video services to residential and business customers, DISH employees manage large volumes of electronic equipment, such as remote controls, transformers, and power adapters, various batteries, aerosol cans, and other items classified as hazardous waste.

The Colorado-based company will pay for penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental project to benefit the community while making significant changes to its operations and practices to come into compliance with state law.

Specifically, DISH must:

• Pay $5.5 million, including $3.32 million in civil penalties, $835,500 in litigation costs, and $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects. DISH must also spend $500,000 to implement enhanced environmental compliance measures to ensure proper management of hazardous waste at its California facilities.

• Hire an independent third-party auditor to perform environmental compliance audits at DISH’s 25 facilities across the state;

• Conduct regular inspections of facility trash dumpsters and roll-off containers to ensure the containers do not contain hazardous waste; and

• Provide training to employees to ensure compliance with California’s hazardous waste laws.

According to the attorney general’s and Alameda DA’s offices, the DISH settlement is the fifth case of a telecom industry giant addressing unlawful disposal and management of hazardous waste. The two offices have also successfully prosecuted AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, and Cox Communications for similar environmental violations related to illegal disposals of large volumes of electronic waste from their cable and satellite video services.

Source Here: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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