Monday, August 26, 2013

San Francisco Water & Electricity Threatened By Wildfire

Soot and Runoff Threaten Hetch Hetchy Drinking Water Supply

Governor Jerry Brown has extended a state of emergency to include San Francisco because the Rim Wildfire is threatening the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which is a major source of electricity and water for the city. San Francisco gets 85 percent of its water from the Yosemite-area Hetch Hetchy reservoir.  The Rim Fire started in a remote canyon of the Stanislaus National Forest and has spread outh to Yosemite National Park.

Although the Rim Fire is more than 100 miles from the Bay Area, it still could threaten San Francisco's electric supply if it damages the power system originating in O'Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy reservoir. The weeklong blaze on the timbered slopes of the Western Sierra Nevada has spread to 196 square miles and was only 5 percent contained.

O'Shaughnessy Dam

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been forced to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations near Hetch Hetchy.

The 200-square-mile Rim Fire also threatensabout 5,500 residences, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The blaze has destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings in several different areas. Approximately 3,000 firefighters, including inmate firefighters, were on the lines and one sustained a heat-related injury.  (San Jose Mercury News, 8/25/2013, Yahoo News, 8/24/2013, NPR, 8/24/2013)

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