On Oct. 25, Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency for both the Kincade Fire and Santa Clarita's Tick Fire
In a press conference Friday afternoon, Oct. 25 at the CalFire Healdsburg station, Gov. Gavin Newsom slammed PG&E for what he said were years of mismanagement and greed. He also provided an update on firefighting resources being allocated to the blaze that is still only 5% contained heading into a weekend that promises gusts upward of 70 mph.
“While we are enjoying a moment of respite away from the wind events ... we are expecting those winds to whip back up on Saturday evening into Sunday potentially dissipating we hope on Monday,” the governor said.
CalFire Chief Thom Porter said crews are working diligently to retain fire lines, however, there are still open lines on the 21,900-acre fire. Porter said there is a concern on holding the current containment lines.
In preparation for the next few days of wind, Newsom said fire crews are making use of aerial support, radar and LiDAR/LADAR cameras.
“We’ve never had more resources in this space than we do today," he said. "We’ll be bringing in a 747 into the area for exclusive use in the state of California."
Newsom said that the aircraft should be making an appearance in the near future, potentially within hours of the press conference. As part of the state's effort to bring in more resources, Newsom said that the state has increased its investment in technology to help detect and combat major weather events or fires.
"We were also aided by pre-positioning," Newsom said, referring to firefighting assets that were able to be placed around the state. "We were the beneficiary of that pre-positioning here and as a consequence I think it mitigated what may have been and even more extreme event, one again we continue to manage as we speak.”
Sonoma County District 4 Supervisor James Gore said, “I want to thank the state because they have sent the armada, we have a fleet out there right now going after the Kincade Fire in a way that needs to be done in the next two to three days to prepare for another wind event which is really making us bristle.”
Gore continued, “It is a crazy time to say that we are here again but we are more prepared than ever.”
Newsom also credited fire personnel for their around the clock efforts in fighting fires here and across the state.
“We have the best and the brightest in this business — that is not a governor saying that, I’m not paid to say that, it is not because I think that it is because I know that — I’ve had the experience, you’ve had the experience here in the North Bay, you’ve seen it first hand from the finest folks that exist in the business doing heroic work, and they are preparing for Saturday night and they are preparing for Sunday and they are working with meteorologists and they are working with data and they are working with state of the art, they are working with new radar technology, and new satellite technology and working with our federal partners in concert to develop strategies into that and to anticipate the movement not only of the Kincade Fire but the other fires in Los Angeles County,” Newsom said.
Newsom said residents should not have to be in this situation.
“We should not have to be here," Newsom said. "Years and years of greed, years and years of mismanagement particularly with the largest investor owned utility in the state of California, PG&E. That greed has precipitated in a lack of intentionality and focus on hardening their grid, undergrounding their transmission lines — they simply did not do their job.
“It took us decades to get here but we will get out of this mess, we will hold them to an account that they have never been held in the past, we will do everything in our power to restructure PG&E so it is a completely different entity," he said. "We will hold them accountable for the business interruption cost associated with these blackouts and we will do the same with the other two investor-owned utilities in Southern California.”
"Mark my word," Newsom said. "It is a new day of accountability, it is a new day of transparency. But I cannot look any of you in the eye and say that we cannot snap our fingers and address a decade of mismanagement."