The events of October 2019 have made us aware that there are three stages of emergency notifications: local fires; PG&E outages; and evacuation orders. On this web page we discuss local fire notifications and PG&E outages. On the next web page (EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS: Evacuations) we discuss evacuation orders.
Local Fire Notifications: Early in October we had a downtown Occidental blaze — “The Lodge fire” — that alarmed many residents but did not cause the Sonoma County warning system to be activated — the REDCOM dispatch system.
There are three ways to learn about local fires: calls or texts from your neighbors; a notification on Next-door; or via the PULSE POINT phone app. In the case of the Lodge fire, many of us were notified by our neighbors by text. There was also an announcement on Next Door (https://nextdoor.com/news_feed/ ). There was also detailed information on Pulse Point ( https://www.pulsepoint.org ): “a mobile phone application that allows users to view and receive alerts on calls being responded to by fire departments and emergency medical services.”
PG&E OUTAGES: The Lodge fire did not occur during a time of high wind. Several weeks later, there were high wind forecasts, in Sonoma County, and PG&E responded by turning off electricity (and gas) for most residents. For an outage forecast: : https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/psps-weather-map.page For information on actual outages: https://m.pge.com/#outages
Here’s another useful website that shows Northern California wildfire cameras: http://www.alertwildfire.org/northbay/index.html