Unusually low humidity and hurricane-force winds set the stage for the blazes, said
"Those two challenges were really what drove this firestorm," said Norrbom, speaking last week at a session of the
While Norrbom talked about how unusual weather conditions were when the fires broke out in 2017,
"Climate change is happening," Brown said at the event. "Our traditional fire season has extended in the state of
As an example, he pointed to the Hanley fire, which occurred in 1964. It had roughly the same perimeter as the Tubbs fire, which destroyed
Even though fire is a natural part of the state's ecology, "We continue to put homes where there are traditionally large and devastating fires," Brown said.
The Nuns blaze took a month to contain, Norrbom said. The largest fire in the 2017 firestorm, it started as five separate fires, burned 34,382 acres and destroyed 1,300 structures including 407 residences in
"All of the fires in
Perhaps Norrbom's starkest message for
When the fires broke out late on
"We had no cell service and no land lines," Norrbom said, "so my point here is you need to be prepared in your own communities during red flag conditions."
Brown also emphasized preparation.
"If you've been doing your job of creating defensible space around your home," Brown said, "you can actually shelter in place at your home until the fire front gets to the point where you can evacuate."
"You need to know your neighbors," Brown said. "Nothing works better than door to door."
Medications, pets, cellphones with chargers, cash/credit cards, driver's licenses and eyeglasses are among the items Norrbom suggests are essential items to bring when evacuating.
He said homeowners should check their insurance coverage; many people discovered after last year's fires that the coverage they had wouldn't pay to rebuild their homes.
He also said people need to know how to open their garage doors when the power is out.
"There is nothing worse than not being able to get your car out during a wildland fire," Norrbom said.
And he said people should make sure their car always has plenty of gas in the tank.
Norrbom said, "When you're on your way home and you think, 'I'll get the fuel tomorrow;' it might be a good idea to get it on your way home."
(c)2018 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)
Visit The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at www.marinij.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.