CLIF to donate 100% of profits from one of their bars to 2nd responder fund

The first project will help build a new Butte Humane Society facility that will shelter and care for animals impacted by the Camp Fire in California.

I first learned about Clif Bars after discovering that a former coworker, Bruce Lymburn, was the company’s General Counsel. Bruce and I were members of the El Cariso Hot Shots back in the day.

Clif seems like an interesting place to work. Clif Bars are mostly made from organic ingredients, employees can bring their dogs to work, the company gives back to the community through the CLIF Bar Family Foundation, employees are encouraged to volunteer in the community on company time, and they can take two and a half hours of paid exercise each week with free personal training.

The San Francisco Bay Area company made the news the other day with the creation of the CLIF Second Responder Fund.

Most everyone knows what first responders are. They are the first to arrive at emergency scenes — the ones you see in the news — law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. Second responders are the ones that work during the recovery phase, which can last for days, weeks, or months. Examples include power companies, communication companies, hazardous waste cleanup, and services providing food, road clearing, security, first aid, crowd control, sanitation, temporary housing, and social services. The establishment of the CLIF Second Responder Fund will support some of the unmet needs of these second responder efforts.

Clif BarOne hundred percent of all net profits from the sale of Sierra Trail Mix CLIF BAR® Energy Bars will go toward establishing the fund for the long term. Clif Bar & Company has a long history of post-disaster work in communities, often serving as a “second responder” by volunteering, providing financial support and food donations.

The first project of the fund will provide $1.5 million to the community affected by the Camp Fire in Butte County, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. This fund will help the community break ground on a new state-of-the-art Butte Humane Society facility that will shelter and care for animals impacted by the Camp Fire disaster, as well as serve as an emergency center for Northern California in the event of future disasters.

“The devastation created by these fires is unfathomable,” said Gary Erickson co-owner and co-CEO of Clif Bar & Company. “After the flames are extinguished and the camera crews leave, these communities are still desperate for help. This fund will help this community in our own backyard and other communities around the country for years to come.”

The fund was inspired by the work of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. owners Ken Grossman and Katie Gonser, whose community in Chico, California was among those devastated by the Camp Fire. Like Clif Bar, Sierra Nevada is also a family-owned business and the two families have been friends for years. When the fire was in its early stages, Erickson and his wife, Clif Bar & Company co-owner and co-CEO Kit Crawford, reached out to Grossman and Gonser to see how Clif Bar could help.

“When Gary and Kit called, we knew we needed help for our community’s animals. As we listened to the stories and responded to the needs of the community, we knew that help would still be needed long after the initial push of relief had waned,” said Gonser. “The devastation was enormous, with many local families distraught over the lack of care of displaced animals. This shows what two businesses can achieve by working together.” Grossman and Gonser have already donated the land for the new facility.

“Clif is a company full of animal lovers, with many employees bringing their dogs to work with them every day. Not only are animals amazing companions, they’re family,” added Kit Crawford, Co-Owner and Co-CEO of Clif Bar & Company. “We are proud to champion this initial effort and know that this fund will be ongoing to address other needs following national disasters around the country.”

It’s estimated that more than 20,000 animals were impacted by the Camp Fire. The Butte County Humane Society responded immediately, reuniting residents with their pets, providing thousands of pounds of pet food to people who were displaced, and caring for hundreds of injured pets. Through the experience, the staff learned each day and knew a new facility with an expanded mission was needed.

The new Butte Humane Society facility can serve as a centralized information headquarters for animal welfare groups in order to coordinate collective long-term recovery efforts and in preparation for disaster support throughout Northern California. Additionally, in collaboration with other first and second responder animal organizations, the new campus can be used as a crisis evacuation site during local and regional disasters. BHS hopes this will serve as a model for emergency preparedness and response around the country.

The new Sierra Trail Mix packaging will be rolled out nationally this summer in stores and online.

1972 El Cariso Hotshot crew
Part of the 1972 El Cariso Hotshot crew. Bruce Lymburn is at the end of the back row, on the left. Missing: Ron Campbell (superintendent) and Bill Gabbert (took the photo).

In 2007 and again in 2008 Senators Hillary Clinton and Peter King introduced the Skilled Trades Second Responders Act of 2008, which would have established a national program for the training, certification, registration, tracking, and integration of skilled construction workers to assist first responders in responding to disasters, including natural and manmade disasters and terrorist attacks. Both bills died in committee.

Feather River Hospital evacuated 280 patients and staff as Camp Fire approached

Nine buildings on the campus burned as well as the lower level of the hospital

Feather River Hospital Camp fIre burned
Screenshot from a video shot by Feather River Hospital employees as the fire approached.

The details about the evacuation of Feather River Hospital as the Camp Fire tore through Paradise, California on November 8, 2018 were not covered throughly by the national news. The top stories were the 85 people that were killed and the 14,000 homes and businesses destroyed.

The NFPA Journal has an article that covers some of the facts about the evacuation.

The fire was reported at 6:29 a.m. near a high voltage power line northeast of Paradise. Ryan Ashlock, the “administrator on call” that morning, saw the smoke at 7 a.m. when he arrived at the hospital on the east side of Paradise (map). At 7:15 employees could smell smoke inside the building. As the fire pushed by strong winds got closer, at 7:45 Mr. Ashlock called a code triage external, which means there’s something going on in the outside world that they need to be aware of, and that units need to prepare themselves for anything that might be coming.

At 8 a.m. the hospital was within a mandatory evacuation area. At first the staff thought they would be safer inside the building and could shelter in place, in part because the structure had firewalls that can retard the spread of a fire through the building. But a few minutes later the blaze had approached both ends of the hospital’s campus. Mr. Ashlock ordered a full evacuation at 8:07. The staff escorted ambulatory patients, pushed some in wheel chairs, and wheeled others in their beds to the emergency room entrance or the helipad.

The staff made calls in attempts to get ambulances and helicopters to transport patients, but due to gridlocked traffic and the fire, only two ambulances from Chico made it to Paradise near the end of the evacuation. One arrived at the hospital, while the other caught fire and burned. Helicopters could not land at the helipad due to the smoke.

By 8:50 they had evacuated 80 patients and 200 employees. One critically ill intensive-care patient died that day.

Feather River Hospital Camp fIre burned
Screenshot from KRCR TV showing hospital equipment left at the helipad after the evacuation.

Below are excerpts from the NFPA article, in the words of Mr. Ashlock:

8:20 a.m.

Our evacuation plan called for ambulances to come from the town of Paradise. But it’s a small community, so there aren’t many ambulances readily available. Most would come from Butte County. But we weren’t seeing any of those local ambulances and we didn’t know where they were. We were also concerned that ambulances from Chico might not get up here because of the traffic resulting from the entire town of Paradise being evacuated.

Someone over in the emergency department figured out that ambulances weren’t coming. There were Paradise police and Butte County Sheriff’s Office people on site, and I went out to talk to them. As nicely as I could, I asked them, “Where are the firefighters to protect the hospital, and where are the ambulances to help us evacuate?” They said, “We’ve called, and no one’s responding.”

The decision was made to start putting patients into the emergency vehicles that happened to be there, and the rest would have to be put into the personal vehicles of hospital employees—we weren’t going to get off that campus by sitting and waiting for ambulances or firefighters to show up. Clinicians got patients into wheelchairs, patients who could walk were escorted down to the emergency department, patients who were in the ICU or who were unable to walk or get into wheelchairs were rolled out in their beds.

8:50 a.m.

All patients were out of the hospital. The fire stayed about 400 yards away because of the defensible area around the hospital. But the wind started to kick up and embers were blowing over us, and spot fires were starting all around us. Our central plant, where we have our boilers and chillers and generators, was starting to catch fire about the time we got everyone out of the main hospital building. Some of our buildings at the edge of campus were burning, along with our IT building.

Mr. Ashlock said the lower level of the hospital burned pretty extensively, and of the 15 administrative buildings on the campus, nine burned, as well as one clinic.

The video below was shot by Feather River Hospital employees as the fire approached.

Home destroyed in Camp Fire but coin collection found and restored

Joseph Best safe Paradise California Camp Fire
Joseph Best’s photo of his safe that stored his coin collection.

One of the 14,000 homes and businesses that burned in the Camp Fire at Paradise California in November belonged to Joseph Best. During the month evacuated residents were kept out of the burn area he worried about his coin collection that was stored in a “fire proof” safe. When finally allowed back, he found it in the ashes of his home, tipped on its side.

The video below tells the story of how Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, a company that cleans, grades, and packages coins for collectors, extracted Mr. Best’s coins from the melted holders, graded them, and reinstalled the coins in new holders — all at no charge.

Note about “fire proof” safes. The term is misleading. Safes have different levels of fire resistance. Some have more insulating characteristics than others, but if exposed to high enough heat for an extended period of time even the best may allow the inside temperature to rise high enough to damage the contents. Various organizations rate fire resistant safes for time and temperature, for example half an hour at 1,550 degrees, 1 hour at 1,700 degrees, or 2 hours at 1,500 degrees.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Tax relief for victims of November 8 wildfires in California

Applies to victims of the Camp and Woolsey Fires

IRSPeople who reside in or had businesses in the areas that burned in the wildfires that started in California on November 8, 2018 could qualify for federal tax relief.

The Camp and Woolsey Fires destroyed thousands of homes in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Since the President declared the fires to be major disasters residents with losses in those locations may be able to take advantage of slightly extended deadlines for filing federal tax returns.

In addition, taxpayers in the federally declared disaster areas have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. See IRS Publication 547 for details. IRS Publication 976 has instructions for tax relief for the California fires of 2017.

Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. IRS Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, has more details.

General information about the program can be found at the IRS website.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Video from the first night of the Camp Fire

@FirePhotoGirl is a professional photographer who documents and reports on emergency incidents, concentrating on fires, usually in Southern California. This video is from the first night of the Camp Fire, which virtually wiped out the town of Paradise in Northern California last fall. Her handle is the same on both Twitter and Instagram.

Erin Brockovich concerned about PG&E’s bankruptcy plan after wildfires

The company could be facing more than $30 billion in potential damages after wildfires in 2017 and 2018

Camp Fire satellite photo 10:45 am Nov. 8, 2018. Zeke Lunder
Camp Fire, as it began to burn into Paradise, Calif. LANDSAT 8 image at 10:45 a.m. PT, Nov. 8, 2018. Processed by Zeke Lunder, Deer Creek Resources, Chico, Calif.

Erin Brockovich battled Pacific Gas and Electric over ground water contamination in the 1990s, an effort that led to the Julia Roberts film named after her — Erin Brockovich. Now she is concerned about PG&E’s announced plan to declare bankruptcy, which may limit the company’s liability in their role for possibly starting the Camp Fire last year and many others in 2017.

PG&E has said they can’t afford to pay the estimated $30 billion in potential damages from the fires. The Camp fire destroyed about 14,000 homes and killed at least 86 people. CAL FIRE is looking closely at hardware that may have failed on a 100-year old high-voltage tower, possibly igniting the fire. A second possible point of ignition near other PG&E equipment is also being examined.

CAL FIRE investigators determined that the company’s electrical distribution system caused at least 17 of the major fires in Northern California in 2017, destroying thousands of homes.

Ms. Brockovich appeared at a press conference in Sacramento Tuesday. Below is an excerpt from KWBE:

“We should all be beyond frustrated,” Brockovich said during the press conference. “Every one of us should be good and mad. And it is time for the state to get to work. They need to show us their true leadership in holding this company accountable and making these communities whole again.”

She also alleged that the utility company is solvent and that it’s simply shucking its responsibilities.

“How are we going to stand by and just hurl 40,000 citizens, who have been harmed — not to mention the state of California — into chaos? Because Pacific Gas and Electric once again doesn’t want to be held accountable or pay for the damages they have caused,” Brockovich said.

In a response, a spokesperson for the utility company told ABC News that the company still had “work to do” and said that it remained “focused on supporting [families impacted by the wildfires] through the recovery and rebuilding process.”