thomascollins

TV News still showing active fire in Orange County
Energy

New California fires caused by electricity grid – SoCal confesses

Oct. 28—Thousands of Southern Californians were without electricity for a third  day Wednesday, as the region’s largest utility turned off power to areas where strong Santa Ana winds were causing high fire risk.

Power company Southern California Edison told state regulators that its equipment might have ignited one of a pair of fast-moving wildfires in Orange County, Calif., that have prompted evacuation orders for 80,000 people.

A few miles to the north, the Blue Ridge Fire also broke out Monday and has blackened more than 10,000 acres and led to evacuation orders for the city of Yorba Linda. Both conflagrations were driven by Santa Ana winds gusting up to 80 miles an hour. In all, more than 16,000 homes valued at $14.1 billion were at risk from the twin fires, according to estimates by Realtor.com.

Simultaneously About 355,000 power customers – covering an estimated 1 million people – were in the dark in the northern part of the state as officials issued warnings for what could be the strongest winds in California this year.

The fast-moving wildfire forced the evacuation of 70,000 people and seriously injured two firefighters in Southern California on Monday as powerful winds across the fire-fatigued state prompted power to be cut to prevent utility equipment from sparking new blazes.

The wind-driven fire spread to more than 16 square kilometers within a few hours of breaking out around dawn in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

Strong gusts pushed flames in Silverado Canyon and near houses in Irvine, a city of about 280,000 residents 65 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles.

Two firefighters, aged 26 and 31, were severely burned as they battled the blaze from the ground, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said.

Water-dropping helicopters were briefly grounded because the winds made it unsafe to fly.

Officials did not immediately know the cause of the fire, one of several that broke out across the region.

Tinder-dry weather

The electricity shutdowns marked the fifth time this year that Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility, cut power to customers to reduce the risk of downed or fouled power lines or other equipment that could ignite fires amid tinder-dry weather conditions and powerful wind gusts.

The conditions could equal those during devastating fires in California’s wine region in 2017 and the Kincade Fire that devastated Sonoma County north of San Francisco last October, the National Weather Service said.

Fire officials said PG&E transmission lines sparked that fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes and caused nearly 100,000 people to flee for their lives.

Extreme fire danger moved into Southern California late on Sunday following cooler temperatures over the weekend. A area north of Los Angeles recorded a wind gust of 156 kilometers per hour.

“We have very strong winds and very low humidities, and that’s causing ideal conditions for a very strong Santa Ana event with …

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Land

Public land sell-off halted till next Prez term

Public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the US is some of the most important for off-grid communities – including those who live in vans and RVs, but also for millions of ordinary Americans who depend on it for livelihood and outdoor activities.

Under President Trump there has been a permanent threat of a massive sell-off, but a Montana judge’s ruling has effectively removed the risk until after the November election, the New York Times reported.

The federal judge in Montana ordered William Perry Pendley, whose appointment was not confirmed by the Senate, to leave the position of BLM acting Director.

Mr. Pendley, who had held the job since he was “temporarily” appointed in July 2019, was also prohibited from using any authority to make decisions about federal lands. President Trump had nominated Mr. Pendley to fill the position on a permanent basis in July 2020 but withdrew the nomination this month.

“Pendley has served and continues to serve unlawfully as the Acting B.L.M. director,” the judge, Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, wrote in a 34-page ruling he issued on Friday.

Judge Morris added that Mr. Pendley’s ascent “did not follow any of the permissible paths set forth by the U.S. Constitution.”

The ruling also prevented Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who appointed Mr. Pendley, from picking another person to run the bureau.

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, who filed a lawsuit in July against Mr. Pendley and Mr. Bernhardt, called the ruling “a win for the Constitution, the rule of law, and our public lands.” Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, cheered the decision on Saturday, National Public Lands Day.

The ruling was a significant victory for Mr. Bullock, a former presidential candidate who is running for the United States Senate in a tight race against Steve Daines, the Republican incumbent.

The Bureau of Land Management has been without a Senate-confirmed director since Neil Kornze left in January 2017. Since then, five people have been appointed to the position — and none received Senate approval.

Conner Swanson, a spokesman for the Interior Department, said the ruling was “an outrageous decision that is well outside the bounds of the law.”

“It betrays longstanding practice of the department going back several administrations,” he said in an email. “We will be appealing this decision immediately.”

The department noted that under President Barack Obama’s leadership, Mary L. Kendall, the department’s former deputy inspector general, served as acting inspector general for years even though the Senate never confirmed her appointment. Ms. Kendall resigned in 2019, shortly after her office opened an investigation into ethical complaints about Mr. Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries.

“The department is unaware of any Democrat voicing similar concerns related to this issue during

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RV's just got futuristic: The Basecamp Airstream
Mobile

The Open Road: RV Sales Boom

The all-American way to go off the grid is of course with a recreational vehicle – an RV.

Buckle up. Open road. Highway 66. Freedom. Yes mam!

Last week thousands of Americans gathered at Grand Rapids, Michigan for a celebration of this off-piste culture. ‘The Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show’. On the bill were classic RV’s such as the Basecamp Airstream – a small silver travel trailer of just 16 feet long and weighing less than 3,000 pounds equipped with solar energy, shower and toilet- as well as lifestyle gurus Greg & Cori Young and John Holod.

Hungry for travel and adventure,the Young’s sold all their possessions, bought an RV and now live life on the road.To support themselves they found ways to work with their travel and now advise other campers on how to install and utilise solar energy.

According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RIVA), RV sales in 2016 were the highest they’ve been in over a decade with 400,000 RV’s sold in 2016. In fact, an estimated 8-9% of US household now own an RV.

John Holod is a documentary maker about all things RV and is best known for work such as ‘Alaska: RV Adventure of a Lifetime’ and ‘The Great Rocky Mountain RV Adventure’.He has travelled over 600,000 miles in various RV’s and was awarded the “Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award” by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

What both Holod and the Young’s prove is that a life full of movement and travel is entirely possible, and is not exclusively reserved for the rebellious likes of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

The General Manager of the American RV, Chad Neff, said that due to low interest rates, low fuel prices and high customer confidence RV’s are experiencing a boom in sales (he took over 50 campers to the Grand Rapids show and expects to sell them all).The demographics of his customers range from millennials all the way to retiring baby boomers, all sharing one thing in common- a passion and drive for adventure and a world outside a TV screen.

If the ‘Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show’ shows one thing it’s that living off-grid and on the road is becoming increasingly common- (in American accent) I sure know what I’ll be doing next summer!

 

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