California Forest Fire Warning System Under Scrutiny

Greg Obernesser | FireFire
California forest fire destruction. Credit: FOX News

Alarm systems for forest fires in California have been recently at the center of attention and under intensifying scrutiny. According to the Sacramento Bee, people have been demanding that the natural disaster alert system in California needs an overhaul. Since October of 2017, fifty people have died in California wildfires, something a lot of people are saying could have been completely avoided. Governor of California Jerry Brown is considering this year legislation to do so.

Firefighters overlooking a blaze in California. Credit: LA Times

The main problem in the alert system is in its structuring. In California, there is no standardized system to alert the citizens that there is or threat of a natural disaster.  If there is a flood, earthquake, or forest fire, there is no way for people to know or have ample time to evacuate. Brown said he would be more than happy to collaborate with state senators (Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo) to bring in legislative change.

Wireless Emergency Alerts. Credit: Ready Arlington Twitter

What type of system would be implemented to help alert citizens of natural disasters? The new system would be implemented through the Federal Communications Commission and utilize the federal Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). People that own particular cell phones would get an alert warning them of a natural disaster. Citizens would be registered in particular counties and would have to opt-out if they did not wish to receive alerts.

As a reminder just in case you have been living under a rock, California has seen some of its worst forest fires ever since October of 2017. In total, the seventeen forest fires in California have turned more than 450,000 acres into ash and chard remains. More than 40,000 people have been displaced from their homes and a nearly 17,000 homes have been destroyed. Over 14,000 fire fighters are currently battling the blazes.

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