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Preventing wildfires

 July 5, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Emilyn Mohebbi, in for Debbie Cruz…. it’s Friday, July 5th.


We have some safety tips for you, as we enter wildfire season.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


It’s set to be a hot weekend.

Temps could reach up to 103 in the inland and mountain areas, where there’s an Excessive Heat Warning in effect from 11 this morning (Friday), until tomorrow (Saturday) night.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy says a heat dome is covering the entire state.

“Our mountains are affected, our valleys are affected, and really the only relief is the beach. This is a scenario where our coastal areas can still get excessively hot, our overnight low temperatures are warm. This is unusual.”

Temperatures by the beach will be in the high 70s.

And a Beach Hazards Statement will be in effect until 5 P-M Sunday.

Forecasters say there will be an increased risk of rip currents and dangerous swimming conditions.

And lastly, in the deserts, an Excessive Heat Warning has been extended until 9 Wednesday night.

Temperatures there could reach up to 123 degrees.


Starting tomorrow (Saturday), you can take boats, canoes, floating tubes and kayaks on the Miramar Reservoir again.

The city of San Diego suspended on-water activities at the reservoir for the last 10 months, to install a new underwater pipeline.

The new pipeline is part of the Pure Water San Diego program.

According to the city, the program will use purification technology to clean recycled water and produce drinking water.

It’s a phased, multi-year program that aims to provide almost half of the local water supply by 20-35.


The last day of the San Diego County Fair is Sunday, so you still have a couple days to get out there, if you haven’t yet!

I haven’t gone yet, so I’m planning to this weekend.

Here’s some general information to help plan your day at the fair.

Gates open at 11 in the morning, and the fair closes at 10 P-M.

The theme this year is “Let’s Go Retro.”

Fair admission for children under five is free everyday, and kids 12 and younger can get in free today (on Fridays).

Ticket prices for everyone else range from 17 to 25 dollars.

For more information and a schedule of all the events happening at the fair, visit sd-fair-dot-com.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


Wildfires are one of the biggest dangers the county faces when it comes to climate change.

Reporter John Carroll got some tips of things to keep in mind as we enter wildfire season.

Wildfire season is here. thankfully, recent fires have been quickly contained … a sure sign fire officials are ready for the season…  but, are you?calfire captain mike cornette talked to kpbs midday edition about how all of us can be prepared.  he says 95-percent of wildland fires are human caused… and are 100-percent preventable. “so if you're out doing your defensible space around your home, trying to clear that land, don't use a lawnmower, especially if the grass is dry, because that could potentially strike a rock, create a spark and create a devastating wildland fire.” cornette says this wildfire season is already off to a bad start.  more than 27-hundred fires have already burned 122-thousand acres this year… cornette calls that a drastic increase from years past.  jc, kpbs news.


And speaking of fires….

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge looks into what kind of fire risk lithium ion batteries pose.

The fire started on May 15th at a lithium ion battery storage facility in Otay Mesa. The large number of batteries in that huge warehouse raised the possibility of a devastating, building-wide explosion. REZENDE “They sent robots into the space to try to measure the atmosphere. Is there hydrogen present? How much hydrogen is there? Is there an explosive atmosphere? And they confirmed, yes, there was hydrogen present. Yes there was the potential for an explosive atmosphere.” But that warehouse fire ended in a whimper, not a bang. Robert Rezende is  Battalion Chief for San Diego Fire Rescue Dept and their resident expert on lithium battery fires. He says controlling that fire came down to many things, including good firefighting and the size of the warehouse. REZENDE  “Now we did have battery explosions inside. I was at the incident. We heard the batteries exploding. But again, it’s a massive space. So the sheer fact that it was a really large space meant that it was less likely to have a catastrophic event.” Lithium ion batteries release very flammable gasses, notably hydrogen, when they burn. But even in a normal state these batteries are quite combustible. In his lab at UC San Diego chemistry professor Kent Griffith works on lithium metal batteries, and he uses a special chamber to control the atmosphere. He reaches into it through glove holes that keep out the exterior air to reduce the risk of fire. GRIFFITH   “What we call a glove box. Yeah, it’s basically a low-oxygen chamber. It has extremely low oxygen content and extremely low moisture content.” He says most rechargeable consumer batteries don’t use highly combustible lithium metal. But even lithium ion batteries, that use graphite instead to hold then release ionized particles, are at risk of fire. GRIFFITH 2  “Anything you do to create that short circuit that causes all that heat to be released, means you’re heating up a lot in a very small volume, and so that has the possibility to turn into a fire if there’s a source of fuel around.” One source of fuel that’s immediately available in a lithium ion battery is the electrolyte that separates the batteries’s positive and negative electrodes. Chief Rezende says the buildup of heat in these batteries that leads to fire is called a thermal runaway. It can also lead to powerful explosions. Videos on Youtube show what these explosions look like when, say, a bike battery in a bedroom gets exposed to heat in an apartment fire. REZENDE “More often than not we arrive at the incident to find the windows were blown out. The doors are off the hinges. And of course for us in the fire service that makes it a more complicated incident because now we have a ventilated fire.” Rezende says the billions of lithium ion battery cells being created can only mean more flawed batteries, short circuits and many more fires, which cannot be easily smothered with a blanket or extinguished with water. But how common are these battery fires, really, when compared to other technology. GRIFFITH “What’s actually amazing is in some sense how safe lithium ion batteries actually are, right. We produce billions of these every year and every car has, you know, something on the order of several thousand batteries in it. 1030 And yet still, we have very very few fires in the context of all of that” Griffith says we should compare the risk of fire in battery-powered cars to those that run on internal combustion engines. One estimate showed old fashioned combustion engines were more than ten times more likely to catch fire than EV’s with lithium ion batteries. Chief Rezende agrees that fires are much more common with internal combustion that runs on gas. But remember, lithium ion battery fires are very tough to put out. REZENDE “From a fire department’s perspective, an electric vehicle fire is much more difficult to manage. It’s going to take a lot longer. An internal combustion engine fire we can handle in five to ten minutes. Max. An electric vehicle fire you’re lucky if you get out of there in two hours.” There are other issues. Some hydrogen gasses emitted by lithium battery fires are viewed by some as toxic and dangerous. It’s been used as an argument against locating battery storage facilities near homes and hospitals. But Griffith points out that no other technology we know stores energy as well as a lithium ion battery.. So as our power supply moves from fossil fuels to electric battery power, don’t expect those batteries, or their fire risk, to go away.  SOQ.   


As the weather gets warmer… more people and tourists flock to our beaches.

The city of San Diego is reminding folks that we share the ocean with marine wildlife … and to give them their space.

Reporter Alexander Nguyen has more.

sea lion barking ….They may look cute …And cuddly … they are not. “Please stay a safe distance” That’s the message the city is sending after a social media video of two young women getting too close to the sea lions at La Jolla Cove beach went viral. It’s pupping season for sea lions right now … so the mothers may be more protective of their young. San Diego Chief Park Ranger Michael Ruiz says while there haven’t been any incidents of people getting bitten by sea lions … male sea lions will charge if people get too close.“They're they're just reminding you to stay away. What's more likely is a visitor is going to slip on a rock and and hurt themselves trying to get away.” Sea lions are protected and harassing them could net you a fine of up to 34-thousand dollars and up to 1 year in prison. AN KPBS.


Oceanside Harbor now has its first fishermen's market, selling local fish caught by local fishermen.

North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us about the pop-up happening every Sunday.

"It doesn't get fresher than that. Everything that is sold at this market is produced by the boats that dock here and the local fishermen." Travis Tielens is the founder of the Fisherman's Market of North County. It's the first of its kind for San Diego’s northern region. So it's really putting something there for the commercial fishermen that are local that didn't exist before. And it's really becoming a utility for them and the surrounding community. Teelan says the market allows local fishermen to sell their catch directly to the public- cutting out wholesalers in the middle. But it also gives the community access to fresh fish caught in local waters just a couple days before. The fisherman's market is open every Sunday from 8am to 2pm at the Oceanside Harbor- rain or shine. TT KPBS News.


The 20-24 Olympics start in just a few weeks... and the U-S men's rugby team is getting ready in Chula Vista.

Video journalist Charlotte Radulovich takes us to the pitch.

TAG: The team plays France on July 24th.


Good luck to the team! Does anyone else wish they were in France right now [haha]? That’s it for the podcast today. I produce this podcast, and it’s edited by Brooke Ruth. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join me again on Monday to start the week together with the day’s top stories. I’m Emilyn Mohebbi. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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Wildfires are one of the biggest dangers San Diego County faces when it comes to climate change. In other news, Oceanside Harbor now has its first fishermen's market, selling local fish caught by local fishermen. Plus, the 2024 Olympics start in just a few weeks, and the U.S. men's rugby team is getting ready in Chula Vista.