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Posts Tagged: wildfire

New rules passed to protect workers from wildfire smoke: guidance available

Respirator masks must fit properly to be effective.
Cal/OSHA recently passed an emergency regulation to establish standards to protect workers from the hazards of wildfire smoke. This standard has four primary requirements:

  1. Identify potential exposures to harmful air quality caused by wildfire smoke (i.e. monitor Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts and daily levels during wildfire events).
  2. Communicate wildfire smoke hazards, air quality conditions, protective measures, and encourage feedback from employees.
  3. Train employees who are reasonably anticipated to be affected by unhealthy air quality caused by wildfire smoke.
  4. Control harmful exposure to outdoor workers by various methods as feasible. During unhealthy air quality events, these control measures may include working indoors in a building with filtered air, limiting the duration and intensity of outdoor work, or use of a filtering respirator when other means are not effective or practical to control exposure. The standard requires that when the AQI for PM2.5 reaches 151 or higher, the employer must make respirators available for employees to use if they must work outdoors.

UC ANR Risk & Safety Services has developed guidance and training on how to comply with this new regulation at http://ucanr.edu/protectfromwildfiresmoke as well as a PowerPoint training for safety coordinators to share with employees. Risk & Safety Services is also procuring respirators that will be shipped to all ANR locations.

“Since this is a brand-new regulation, we expect that additional guidance will come out from Cal/OSHA in the next few months,” said Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services.

In addition to this Cal/OSHA standard, a team from all UC campuses and ANR has been developing a decision matrix for guiding how UC locations will respond to unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke. This decision matrix will include various types of activities, such as outdoor workers, volunteers, athletics, camps, and youth activities. We will share this additional information as the decision matrix is finalized.

If you have questions about the new wildfire smoke rules, please contact Brian Oatman at (530) 750-1264 or baoatman@ucanr.edu.

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 1:46 PM

Livestock and poultry owners asked to take survey on fire impact

Sheep at Hopland Research and Extension Center were moved out of the line of the River Fire.

People raising cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine, horses, llamas, alpacas, aquaculture species or other production-oriented animals in California who have experienced at least one wildfire on their property within the last 10 years are being asked to participate in a Fire Impact and Risk Evaluation (FIRE) survey.

“We will aim to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems,” said Beatriz Martinez Lopez, director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “The idea is also to create a risk map showing areas more likely to experience wildfires with high economic impact in California.

“This economic and risk assessment, to the best of our knowledge, has not been done and we hope to identify potential actions that ranchers can take to reduce or mitigate their losses if their property is hit by wildfire.”

Martínez López, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology at UC Davis, is teaming up with UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisors and wildfire specialists around the state to conduct the study.

The research team includes

  • Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Ventura County
  • Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE advisor in Fresno and Madera counties
  • Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock range management advisor in Sonoma and Marin counties
  • Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resourcesadvisor, in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties
  • Josh Davy, UCCE livestock, range and natural resources advisor in Tehama, Colusa and Glenn counties
  • Max Moritz, UCCE wildfire specialist, UC Santa Barbara
  • Luke Macaulay, UCCE rangeland planning and policy specialist at UC Berkeley
  • Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE wildfire advisor in Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino
  • counties
Wildfire in Tehama County. Photo by Josh Davy

“The idea came up in a conference in San Diego, just when we had several ongoing wildfires and we were discussing how poorly are some areas prepared for this and the need for better emergency planning, coordination and response when not only people, but also large animals are involved,” Martínez López said. “We hope this study will provide the foundation to advance in this direction.”

“Right now, we have no good estimate of the real cost of wildfire to livestock producers in California,” said Rebecca Ozeran, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Fresno and Madera counties. “Existing UCCE forage loss worksheets cannot account for the many other ways that wildfire affects livestock farms and ranches. As such, we need producers' input to help us calculate the range of immediate and long-term costs of wildfire.”

Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and range management advisor for Sonoma and Marin counties, agreed, saying, “The more producers who participate, the more accurate and useful our results will be.”

“We hope the survey results will be used by producers across the state to prepare for wildfire,” said Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, “And by federal and private agencies to better allocate funds for postfire programs available to livestock producers.”

The survey is online at http://bit.ly/FIREsurvey. It takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of properties the participant has that have been affected by wildfire.

“Survey answers are completely confidential and the results will be released only as summaries in which no individual's answers can be identified,” said Martínez López. “This survey will provide critical information to create the foundation for future fire economic assessments and management decisions.”

The team would like your help in encouraging livestock producers who have experienced wildfire to participate in the FIRE survey.

Posted on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 6:09 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Post-fire research opportunities available at Hopland REC for limited time

The River Fire created a unique opportunity for fire research at Hopland REC, says John Bailey, interim director.

On July 27 and 28, the River Fire burned approximately two-thirds of the Hopland Research and Extension Center's 5,358 acres. 

“While this was a dramatic event that did damage parts of the center, none of the main buildings, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

“This event has created a unique opportunity for research,” Bailey said. “With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we intend to collect, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery.”

Scientists are invited to learn more about research opportunities this fall, during a webinar on Sept. 7 and a site tour on Oct. 19. The invitation is open to UC scientists and non-UC scientists.

To register for either or both events, visit https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=25451.

“We will offer researchers special rates and access to the site over this brief period,” Bailey said. 

Read the Hopland REC blog post at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=28037 to learn more about the site and how you can be involved in post-fire research at Hopland REC.

For more information, join the webinar and site visit or contact Bailey at (707) 744-1424 ext 112 or jtbailey@ucanr.edu.

 

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 4:41 PM

Wildfire impacts ANR community

The River Fire started to move downhill toward the Hopland REC headquarters on July 27. Photo by Hannah Bird
Dear Colleagues,

There are 19 wildfires threatening communities all over the state and causing concern for our friends and colleagues. We've been in touch with our colleagues in the fire zones and everyone is safe and, as far as we know, no ANR members have lost homes. Here's an update from the affected areas.

In Lake County, the UCCE office is closed and staff members have been evacuated from their homes since Saturday due to the Mendocino Complex fires.

Hopland REC was hit hard by the River Fire. The good news is the evacuation order was lifted Monday and all Hopland Research and Extension Center employees are safe and the headquarter buildings are undamaged. The guard dog that had gone missing has been found. The animals were moved on Friday and all livestock are safe and accounted for. Roughly 2500 acres of the upper pastures burned and the domestic water line from the spring is down. On Friday, Cal Fire set up Incident Command Post at Hopland REC with 6+ engines, three bulldozers and a water tanker. Kudos to John Bailey, superintendent and interim director, and staff for their efforts, which no doubt limited the damage.

UCCE Shasta office is open. Many staff members evacuated due to the massive Carr Fire. Last week, 4-H members helped relocate animals to safety. At least one 4-H family lost their home to the Carr Fire – and 4-H advisor Nate Caeton fears others he hasn't been able to contact in the West Side 4-H Club have lost homes – so the local UCCE staff is reaching out to see how they can help.

UCCE Mendocino office is open. All employees are safe and the office suffered no damage from the Ranch Fire.

UCCE Riverside office is open. A Master Gardener volunteer lost her home in Idyllwild to the Cranston Fire. UCCE Master Gardener coordinator Rosa Olaiz and the rest of the UCCE Riverside County staff are safe and are making plans to assist the volunteer.

UCCE San Bernardino office is open and all staff members are safe from the Cranston Fire.

As the fires are still active, we're continuing to monitor the situation and hope for the best.

Because emergencies can arise without warning, UC ANR Environmental Health and Safety has this Safety Note to help make plans http://safety.ucanr.edu/files/152253.pdf. You can also learn what to do before, during and after a fire at http://cesutter.ucanr.edu/LivingWithFire, a website by Kate Wilkin, UCCE forestry, fire and natural resources advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties.

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication, especially those of you impacted by the fires.

Sincerely,

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 10:33 AM

UCCE spared by October wildfires

Kaan Kurtural evacuated 15 staff members from the Oakville viticultural research station as fire approached in Napa County.

California will be dealing with the effects of the October 2017 wildfires for years to come. The Northern California wildfires that ignited Oct. 8 grew into urban conflagrations and burned for days, killing 43 people and destroying at least 8,400 structures.

In Southern California, Niamh Quinn, UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife advisor, tweeted a photo after outrunning the Canyon Fire 2, which burned over 9,000 acres and destroyed 25 structures.

Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services, contacted UC Cooperative Extension employees in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Butte, Sutter, Yuba and Orange counties and at the Hopland, Sierra Foothill and South Coast research and extension centers.

On Oct. 10, Oatman sent an email to the ANR community giving a status report on the UC ANR offices in the fire zones, saying, “We have heard that all employees are safe.” He added, “In many counties, staff know of 4-H or Master Gardener families who have lost homes or suffered damage.”

In Solano County, 17 UC Master Gardener volunteers, maybe more, lost their homes in the fires. The UC Master Gardener Program quickly set up an online form to connect Master Gardener volunteers throughout the state who wanted to offer lodging, supplies and words of support to fellow volunteers impacted by the fires.

In Sonoma County, UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members helped rescue livestock.

While most news media attention was focused on Northern California fires, Niamh Quinn, who tweets as SoCal Urban Wildlife, had to flee wildfire in Orange County.

ANR suffered no significant property damage, but some offices closed due to local evacuation orders.

Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist based in Oakville, said the viticulture research station went without electricity for 16 days. They brought in generators from UC Davis. 

To help evacuated Californians who returned to their homes recover from fires, Strategic Communications created a story map with links to UCCE county resources.

News reporters sought out several UC ANR experts to explain why the wildfires spread so quickly and burned so intensely and how the fires would affect agriculture. See the ANR News blog for the monthly news roundup for October.

If you would like volunteer or donate to fire recovery efforts, check with local food banks or organizations such as Sonoma County Recovers to find out what is needed. If you would like to contribute to UC Master Gardener volunteers who are in need, you can fill out a survey that was created to connect resources with the affected volunteers: ucanr.edu/mgrelief.

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 8:10 AM
 
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