I was able to easily able to find my Borough’s CWPP (community wildfire protection plan) quite quickly, it only took about one minute on google.
the one thing I think shows my community is well-prepared in case of a disaster was When we had the Moose Creek fire, we had substantial help from Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska Division of Forestry, Alaska State Troopers, BLM Alaska Fire Service, Butte Fire Department, Glenn Highway, Houston Volunteer Fire Department, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Moose Creek Fire, National park Service, Northern Pioneer Helicopters, Palmer Fire & Rescue, Quality Asphalt & Paving, Sutton Fire & Rescue, Tanana Chiefs’ Conference, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, West Lakes Fire Department.
As far as improvements go, I think we need to have more communication and education on our earthquake threat both regionally and local, most of my neighbors don’t even know they live on a 9.0 producing fault.
I feel better, I was surprised when I read of the many agencies that responded to our last fire. I feel more confident that if I were trapped, I have a better chance of being helped.
I think our family was pretty well prepared initially with a family communication plan, our rally points, one a few miles away and the other over 20 miles away in case there is a safety issue at the primary point, this is along our escape route case of a wildfire. We maintain supply kits in our home and vehicle, ensuring there updated for our young one with what she needs as she grows. We have several weeks of long term storage food, MRE’s, and water. We also live on a Faultline, so we put hurricane clips on all connections from footings to rafters when we moved in. Everything top heavy is secured to the wall, this helps tame my fears for my Daughter. Our home came with a wood stove in case we lose heat from the toyo, it also doubles as our backup cooking source. Our families biggest fear is an unknown wildfire. And trust me, after the Moose Creek Fire 2 years ago came within a mile of our home, I thought I did enough by clearing brush, keeping the dead grasses short, and buying longer hoses for defense, I even had several yards of gravel added around 50% of my home, putting us between the lake and a gravel pit so I thought. We also have a metal roof, not surprising in Alaska, emergency kits that would leave any Army field medic jealous. Some of the things looking back I’m surprised at how much more I could have done. After this class, my time researching the Thomas Fire, and doing the preparedness assessment. I now know I was much more vulnerable than I thought
so my post preparedness—improvements are more extensive than I would have thought. First, I do not have a second suitable egress in my home, I gather with our Alaskan building style, or lack of code compliance, this is common. I went to Home depot and got an escape ladder, I’m pregnant so I don’t need to be jumping out windows if my front door is inaccessible. I also did not think about the firewood on my porch and next to my deck being what it is, fuel. So, I told my husband since winter is over to move it to away from the house, and since its spring cleaning time he is taking all the dead fuel away from the home, and cutting low limbs to reduce “fire ladder” we will then do a controlled burn once the wind ban is lifted and weather is favorable. Lastly, we ordered a bundle of Siberian larch from Forestry to put on around the perimeter of my zone one, 30’ defensible space spreading fuel reduction zone to the property line. And there is still more work behind that, and I know we will have to repeat the process annually to stay prepaired.
This comic was created to show what we came together to learn about our vulnerabilities here in Alaska as well as the programs we are trying to improve on. With over 100 languages spoken some get left behind in paperwork errors, not something you would think of in today’s technological age, but it is still happening. and its unbelievable that the state has only a 5 day food supply at any given time.
with better education from schools as well as programs like CERT, we can help each other work towards goals like completing the AWARE initiative. we could then help each-other by becoming the resilient Alaska we know we can be. better educated human resources spread throughout the state, readily available to the villages and towns that need them as a disaster strikes, not after.
this is a great program, acronym AWARE (Anchorage Welcoming And REsilient) there are great partnerships investing in the coming action plan such as the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) and Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) to name a few.
these are some goals the AWARE program has or is in the progress of achieving:
Establishing food security in emergency preparedness and planning (almost all food is imported and only 5% is local).
Creating food security and emergency preparedness materials that are comprehensive enough to be useful and educational, but can also accommodate the nuanced needs of all community members.
Relaying information, documents, resources, and announcements across the language barriers—which often affect those who need the information most—in this multilingual community.
Getting community buy-in, engaging residents, and leading from the ground-up; many residents are focused on daily survival and lack the time and opportunity to engage.
Engaging residents from all populations during the planning process. Many residents are not interested in theoretical situations and typically will not engage unless it’s concrete and will have an immediate impact on their daily life.
3 key points:
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, home to over 40% of the state’s population. Over 100 languages are spoken among the city’s 300,000 residents, a diverse mix of native Alaskans, immigrants, migrants, and refugees from across the U.S. and around the world.
The states high latitude brings to it a cold climate and long winters, this shortens the growing season to a point where the vast majority of food and goods consumed by Alaskan residents must be imported from outside Alaska. Most of these goods move through the Port of Anchorage, or the Al-can (Alaska – Canada Highway), both of which are vulnerable to earthquakes, severe weather, and other environmental risks, but only three to four days’ worth of food is stored locally. The Port of Anchorage is a major economic driver of the region, with much of the Anchorage economy tied to transportation and logistics.
Climate change amplifies the risks faced by the State, especially its most vulnerable residents. Anchorage is projected to see increased average temperatures and periods of extreme heat, which will threaten the glaciers that feed reservoirs and coastal fisheries. Warmer temperatures may also increase the spread of insect-borne diseases. Reduced rain and snowfall could also result in more wildfires and a shortened ski season. The City of Anchorage is committed to addressing these risks while continuing to be a welcoming city for newcomers.
I chose this article because i was un-AWARE that AWARE was a thing, (pun intended) i knew we had the information on the potential dangers of food shortage, but this program encompasses so much more. My goal in this project is to show not only my fellow classmates how resilient Alaskans are, but to prove to you and myself that us isolated Alaskans are a disaster resilient community!
In looking for resources for my blog post this week in regards to the human impact on the 2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, which preamble the Fukushima nuclear disaster. I noticed most updated news articles were five years after the events. The Japanese commemorated the anniversary with most news media outlets in Japan covering countless personal stories, depicting how things have changed since the triple blow, most of these stories were hard to read. I must admit, I myself feel a bit of guilt. But first, a few facts; The Japanese government previously declared the first five years after the disaster as a “Concentrated Reconstruction Period” with $220 billion poured in for reconstruction. The next five years have been designated a “Reconstruction and Revitalization Period” $58 billion has been allocated. $150 billion. In comparison, the costliest hurricane ever in US history (Katrina) was $150 billion, almost half of what Japan will spend.
My favorite post: Five years after 3.11- the struggles of Fukushima’s farmers continue, summed up in my understanding that as bad as the earthquake was, most in the Tohoku region lost their family and friends from the tsunami, and their livelihood from the Fukushima disaster. As you may well know Fukushima’s fresh produce and seafood still carries a stigma that seriously affects the livelihood of the many in the agricultural and fishing industry, tens of thousands of whom are still living in temporary shelters six years later. This is where my guilt comes in, like most environmentally conscious fish lovers living on the west coast of our continent, I was, and still am aware of our beloved, radioactive, Pacific Ocean. Would I buy a fish from the east coast of Japan? Not in a half-life! But Japan seems not to be like us when it comes to helping thy neighbor, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, “the number of people whose main occupation is agriculture has decreased from 3.5 million in 1985 to 2.4 million in 2000 and 1.9 million in 2011, with the percentage of farmers who are 65 years or older increasing from 19.5% to 51.2% to 59.1% respectively. In Fukushima, the disaster has accelerated this trend. “ So it seems the struggle will go on for the thousands of children orphaned by the over 20,000 killed, as well as many thousands of life-long agricultural and fishing families in the region.
The EEW system can detect the approximate source and magnitude of an earthquake and send out public alerts via TV, radio, and cellphone–all in less than a minute of a quake’s start. It also transmits signals that can automatically shut down computers, stop elevators at the nearest floor, and halt factory production lines.
The EEW gave about 10 seconds notice to those close to the coast, and up to one minute to the northern population.
While this is the world’s most sophisticated earthquake early-warning system, 10 seconds is far from enough time to exit an apartment building, or completely stop a bullet train, but given the unpredictability of earthquakes, it’s a step in the right direction. And another benefit would be that earthquakes with an epicenter further away from populated areas would give much more time to react to an EEW message, though likely with other mitigation programs worldwide financial allocations are not used in unpopulated areas as much as they would benefit. Though as seen with Alaska’s last large earthquake, some are leading the way by investing in large scale mitigation, and I’m proud of Alaska for that!!
2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami also known as the Fukushima Disaster
Type of plate boundary or basic weather process involved:
At 2:46pm, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake took place 231 miles northeast of Tokyo at a depth of 15.2 miles lasting 5 minutes. The earthquake occurred in the subduction zone where the Eurasian and Pacific plates meet. Astonishingly the 9.1 quake was so powerful it changed the earth’s axis and was Japan’s strongest recorded earthquake. This energy caused a change in elevation of the sea floor. At 24.4 km deep, this was a very shallow earthquake.
Specific type of event (type of earthquake fault, type of volcano hazard, etc): Subduction type earthquake
Most interesting thing I learned so far about the event or type of hazard:
The US Geological Survey says the quake appears to have moved Honshu, Japan’s main island, by eight feet!!
At least 1,063 structures have been destroyed in the fire. Numerous single-family homes were destroyed. A psychiatric facility in Ventura was destroyed, the Ojai Valley School, near the city of Ojai was heavily damaged with two buildings destroyed. The Fire destroyed many expensive homes in the Montecito area which you will see most did not have proper landscape or buffer mitigation in my opinion.
Over a quarter million Southern California Edison customers lost power as a result of damage from the fire. there are also two class action lawsuits against Southern California Edison, residents are claiming the fire, and the deadly landslides that followed was caused by lack of mitigation.
thousands of firefighter battled the fire on Christmas, leaving there families in several states they deployed from. there were also thousands of Children displaced, left with a nightmare memory and no gifts to distract there sad thoughts of not seeing there teddy bear again. One firefighter died of thermal injuries and smoke inhalation on December 14, in an active area of the fire near Fillmore, and one firefighter was injured after being struck by a car on December 5. His injuries were not considered to be life-threatening. One person, an elderly woman died in a car accident while fleeing the fire on December 6.The Thomas Fire destroyed his and 4 other Airmen’s homes from the 146th Airlift Wing, forcing about 50 wing-members to evacuate as the fire raged through the count
after all this tragedy, i will bet that not much changes, a few laws may be passed, but lobbyists will come in, home owners will not design a buffer zone around there new homes, and next year may be worse.
Over a quarter million Southern California Edison customers lost power as a result of damage from the fire. There are now 2 class action lawsuits against Southern California Edison claiming the fire was caused by a lack of mitigation,
My favorite link below is Really? does it always have to be about the Hollywood Stars?!? Yes, i made that title, i think its fitting, after reading many many articles, I started seeing more info on where Oprah and were going to fly instead of normal, every-day struggling families, I guess its easier to move on? so yes I liked this post because i think it shows exactly whats wrong with some of our priorities.
I chose mapping because i noticed a few key resources that were made available to San Burnardino in 2007 that the local governments have not yet utilized, as they are only taken up as Drafts. in the image below you can see what is red and orange, the uncolored inside is Local responsibility. the state deems their whole area as extremely dangerous.
The County, as well as the 16 cities that make up the county could use this resource much better if it were not still categorized as a draft.
The image above is known as a Progression map, i like this map because you can see the hot spots and the fires movement, this could aid in laying down fire lines or used with an overlay of road system and utility maps to determine the best way to access different areas of the fire such as hot spots. this map was updated at least once a day.
Last but not least we have my personal favorite, the Public Information Map, (link inserted) this is the Featured image for this post, i find the legend to be very helpful if i were a local resident monitoring and planning mitigation. this map is also updated at least once a day and is available as a public resource. I know i don’t like waiting for a press conference to find out if a fire is any closer to my home..
Fire Disaster Game update:
I also must say i enjoyed playing the Fire disaster game again, I’m getting a bit better and saving money and time by utilizing the flame retardant trees. I’ve tried several different ways to keep more villagers alive, it is an eye opener..
My first study, the 2017 Thomas Fire that devastated the Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties in California starting Monday Dec. 4th, 2017 and was 100% contained on Jan. 12th, 2018. I chose this as my first case to learn how weather patterns, atmospheric conditions, and human influence may have contributed to what I thought was one of the most severe, hottest fires I have witnessed. I recall seeing so many car rims melted under the cars which had to be abandoned due to the speed and unpredictability of the converging fires, these fires became one and has since been categorized as the worst wild fire in California’s recorded history.
This historical wildfire ended up affecting large parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, it burned approximately 281,893 acres. The fire began north of Santa Paula while Fast-moving, the flames quickly reached the city of Ventura, where over five hundred residences were destroyed on the first night. The fire destroyed almost as many residences in several rural communities amidst the rugged mountain terrain of Ventura County.
By December 22, the Thomas Fire ran a cost of over $177 million to fight, and forced more than 104,607 residents to evacuate. At its height, the Thomas Fire saw over 8,500 firefighters mobilized to fight it, which was the largest mobilization of firefighters for combating any wildfire in California history. The unusually strong and persistent Santa Ana winds were the largest factor in the spread of the fire. Much of Southern California experienced “the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season”, according to the National Weather Service.
The region experienced an on-and-off Santa Ana wind event for a little over two weeks, which contributed to the Thomas Fire’s persistent growths in size. At its height, the wildfire was powerful enough to generate its own weather, qualifying it as a firestorm. There were periods of time when the fire was advancing at a rate of an acre (0.4 ha) per second. The winds also dried out the air, resulting in extremely low humidity. The area, along with most of Southern California, experienced the driest March-through-December period on record.
While November is the typical beginning of the rainy season in California, the first measurable rain for the area fell on January 8, 2018, more than a month into the fire. With the natural vegetation burnt, flash floods and mud flows damaged homes in Montecito when the rains arrived. Evacuations were ordered or anticipated for neighborhoods that sit below areas recently burned by this and other wildfires. As of 5 AM PST on January 10, at least 20 people had been killed by the sudden flooding and debris flows that followed the heavy rains, which also destroyed over 100 homes.