“Widespread Wildfires” Spark FMCSA to Suspend H.O.S. Rules in California
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has suspended hours of service (HOS) regulations in California for truckers and carriers providing relief in response to devastating wildfires.
On Tuesday, the FMCSA issued a Regional Emergency Declaration and suspended certain federal motor carrier safety regulations (FMCSR).
In the declaration, FMCSA says its action is “in response to widespread wildfires and extreme weather including unprecedented high winds, in the State of California, and their effects on people and property, including the immediate threat to human life or public welfare.”
FMCSA says “emergency conditions” have created a need for “immediate transportation of supplies, equipment, fuel and persons, and provides necessary relief.”
The FMCSA’s order applies to truckers and carriers providing “direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, goods, equipment and fuel into the State of California, and transporting persons into and from the State of California, or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the State of California from the wildfires.”
The FMCSA’s action follows California Governor Gavin Newsom’s issuance of a statewide declaration of emergency on Sunday, October 27.
The devastation so far has been enormous.
For instance, officials say the Kincade fire in wine country north of San Francisco has burned through more than 73,000 acres and was only 15 percent contained as of Monday night.
In the San Fernando Valley, the Tick fire has scorched more than 4,600 acres.
The Getty fire has so far consumed over 600 acres on a hillside in West Los Angeles.
The continued risk is so severe, the National Weather Service issued an “extreme red flag warning” for the first time.
Critical to Extreme fire weather conditions expected today & Wednesday in southern and northern California.
This will mean a high potential for very rapid fire spread, long range spotting and extreme fire behavior for many.
— National Weather Service (@NWS) October 29, 2019
On Tuesday, after touring the damage caused in Los Angeles by the Getty fire, which officials say was sparked when high winds caused a tree branch to hit a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power line., Gov. Newsom said 43 counties in California are under red flag warnings, with “at or near historic wind events.”
In its latest attempt to reduce already elevated wildfire risks, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it might shut off power impacting well over 1 million people.
The potential blackout would affect more than two dozen Northern California counties and come just days after a much larger power shut-off that left more than 2 million people in the dark over the weekend.
The forecast of extreme Santa Ana winds prompted Southern California Edison to consider shutting off power to more than 350,000 households in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
The strong Santa Ana winds are not expected to slow down any time soon either.
Winds of 50 to 70 mph, with isolated gusts of 80 mph, are expected to hit early Wednesday and continue through Thursday, according to officials.