NFPA Journal - September/October 2013 - (Page 11)

>> in a flash NEWS FROM NFPA + BEYOND the rim Fire approaches the hetch hetchy reservoir, the source of water and power for San Francisco. All Together Now The Rim Fire and the need for a collective approach to our escalating wildfires by Scott Sutherland E very day, about 260 million gallons of water flow out of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, near Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierras. The water makes the 160-mile (257-kilometer) downhill trek west to San Francisco, where it fills the dishwashers and bathtubs of some 2.6 million people, or roughly 80 percent of the city’s residents. The reservoir, which was created in the 1920s by damming the Tuolumne River, also hosts three hydroelectric plants that supply San Francisco with almost all of its power. But those life-sustaining products of the Sierras have come under threat from the colossal Rim Fire, which began in mid August and was still growing—to more than 300 square miles (777 square kilometer)—as this issue of Journal went to press. The fire threatens to contaminate the reservoir with ash and other particulate, which would force the city to draw on emergency supplies from other reservoirs. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission had already shut down two of the three power plants at Hetch Hetchy due to the threat of fire, and by August 29 the city had spent around $600,000 purchasing power from elsewhere on the grid. The events prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for San Francisco. Photograph: Newscom For Molly Mowery, program manager for Fire Adapted Communities and International Outreach in NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division, San Francisco’s predicament illustrates how wildfire’s impact can easily travel far beyond the hot zones of the wildland/urban interface (WUI). “The threats to water, power, and other infrastructure that could affect a major urban center are perfect examples of why wildfire is everyone’s concern,” she says. “It’s “The Rim Fire ought to make it crystal clear to San Franciscans how critical the Sierras are to their daily life.” easy to think that only the people living in the WUI are affected, but the reality is that the impact of these fires is often regional. We need to take collective ownership of these kinds of disasters, and that includes the work we do to prepare for them.” Char Miller, a firefighting expert and a professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College in Claremont, California, further SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 NFPA JOURNAL 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - September/October 2013

NFPA Journal - September/October 2013
First Word
In a Flash
Heads Up
Structural Ops
In Compliance
Electrical Safety
Wildfire Watch
Cover Story: Furniture Flamability
Special Report
NFPA Reports
NFPA Reports
Fire Analysis + Research
Section Spotlight
What’s Hot
Looking Back

NFPA Journal - September/October 2013