PETALUMA, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 4, 2020 / On August 17, Sonoma and Napa counties in California saw unusal lightning storms. A region that rarely experiences bolt-lighting, the kind of stereotypical lightning one might routinely see in the Midwest, was hammered by dozens of rounds of strikes. This led to yet another significant fire that is raging through an area that has already suffered major disaster level fires for several years running. As occurred last summer, the current fire has caused evacuations of much of the North West side of Sonoma County.
As of today, the fire, referred to as the “LNU Lightning Complex Fires” are at 78% containment and have burned 375,209 acres over 15 days.
Northbay Maintenance, a Petaluma based contracting company that does fire and smoke remediation and restoration is finding new ways to accomodate the flurry of calls from homeowners that have become an annual event in a county that has experienced devastating fires year after year.
According to Zac Copper, owner of Northbay Maintenance, the challenge that Sonoma and Napa Counties have had after these large fires lies in the lack of ability of remediation companies to respond in a timely manner. “When a house or building has been compromised by fires or flooded with smoke, time is a big factor,” he explains, “If there’s fire damage, often we need to be able to get in and do a board up service as soon as possible. Sometimes there’s structural damage that needs to be reinforced before further damage arrises.”
More importantly, he’s noted that when a big fire hits, remediation companys don’t have the manpower to respond sometimes for weeks. In some cases, this means people can’t live in their homes or stay in a toxic environment for extended periods.
Daniel James, another representative with Northbay said, “When there’s a fire, we mostly hear about the people who have lost their homes, and those are the worst stories. But for everyone who looses their homes, there are many more who have such smoke or partial fire damage that they either have to go stay somewhere else, or live in a house that’s been permeated with smoke which can be really unhealthy, especially for some. If they can’t get remediation started for weeks, and the process takes another couple of weeks or more, they could be displaced for up to a couple of months in some cases.”
To address the heavy demand for quick response to damaged homes, Northbay Maintenance has devised approaches to creating more a “elastic” workforce. Much like the Army Reserve, well-trained workforces can be kept on notice and prepped during fire season. Since large-scale fires like the LNU Lightnight Complex Fires take several weeks reach 100% containment, Northbay can use that time to mobilize and ready people and resources to respond to the damage as people return to their homes.
Copper notes that many of the remediation companies in the North Bay are national companies or franchisees. For most, common thinking might dictate that larger companys can respond to bigger disaster scenarios than local companys. But Cooper is challenging that notion.
“The two biggest problems we see with national companies is their response time, and the lack of on-site management,” he says, “As a local company, with more local resources, we’re finding ways to scale dynamically and quickly to respond to disasters. So we’re able to show up and get the project started often times in 24 hours and can put a trained supervisor on-site. Last year after the fires, the feedback was overwhelmingly possitive. People were being told by the big remediation companies that they would have to wait a couple of weeks before someone could even come out and look at their damage let alone get started on their projects.”
After several years of devistating fires, Sonoma and Napa Counties have borne tramendous hardship with thousands of people having lost their homes. In 2017, the “Tubbs Fire” tore through a well established residential neighborhood in Santa Rosa where about 1,300 buildings and homes burned to the ground displacing families for one to two years or more. Hundreds of other homes were severely or moderately damaged as well.
“I think having been through this, and the evacuations,” continued Daniel James. “People here are sensitive to the psychological toll these fires are taking. All of us here locally have been harshly affected by these fires [over the] last few years. Some of our own friends and family have been affected. So I think a lot of our clients appreciate that we are in this with them and care about them personally as neighbors.”
At this time it is unknown how many Sonoma and Napa County residents will return to find their homes uninhabitable after the LNU fires. At the peak, around 40,000 residents were under an evacuation order or warning according to local news source, The Press Democrat.
For more information about Northbay Maintenance, contact the company here:
2200 Pine View Way STE E, Petaluma, CA 94954
SOURCE: Northbay Maintenance
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