As a retired firefighter, I served the Town of Paradise in northern California for over 15 years. Yes, this is the same Paradise, California that was completely destroyed on November 8th, 2018 in the devastating Camp Fire. Now we are picking up the pieces, trying to uplift and encourage our community members, and rebuilding our homes and hopes in this long and slow recovery process.
Weather and Fire:
Prior to the fire, I actually had an AcuRite 5in1 weather station set up to monitor the weather in my neighborhood. While we did not have a weather station at the fire department, I ensured my fellow firefighters had access to my weather data online through Weather Underground. We kept an eye on dangerous wildfire weather conditions such as low humidity, high temperatures, and strong winds. These weather conditions are conducive to wildfire ignition and rapid fire spread. Additionally, once a fire has started, the winds and heat created by the fire only exacerbate the conditions, creating an extremely dangerous and unmanageable wildfire. A large part of wildfire prevention is to be aware of when these dangerous weather conditions are present by monitoring in real-time with a wildfire weather station. Even with the weather station mounted on a 15-foot pole, with a 20-foot radius clearance of vegetation, my weather station was damaged by the radiant heat and extreme ambient air temperature at the time of the fire.
Rebuilding and Recovering:
The town has been cleaned up, and people are starting to rebuild. So once again, I installed a weather station for our community members. But this time, I upgraded to the AcuRite Atlas™ with lightning detection, not one but two weather stations! One at my home and the other on the west side, just outside of town. Both stations include the AcuRite Access™ for remote monitoring and weather data visualization on My AcuRite. Plus, I’ve enabled Weather Underground sharing for both weather stations. Now the community has access to real-time weather data through the Weather Underground app and website for wildfire preparedness.
We are all helping each other here, a fantastic community effort. Just the other day, I helped a contractor pour some concrete to help get a young family into their new home sooner. With these weather stations, we are really keeping an eye on the weather data, specifically the rainfall right now! We had a significant change in the weather this past weekend, getting us out of our 40-day dry spell with temperatures from the upper 70s to the lower 30s, 3 inches of much-needed rain, and a little snow to boot!