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California: Wind Turbine Explodes Causing Brush Fires

Miriam Raftery and Nadin Abbott — East County Magazine — December 16, 2013

(Campo)  A wind turbine on a ridge overlooking the Golden Acorn Casino exploded today, sparking several spot fires in surrounding brush that collectively charred about a half an acre.

David Elliott, a Manzanita tribal member, lives about  quarter of a mile from the wind facility on the neighboring Campo reservation. At first, he mistook the fire sounds for gusty wind. Then he walked outside and saw the turbine burning.  “The turbine did start several spot fires,” he said.  “If the wind had been coming from the northwest or west then my home, one of the closets homes to the turbines, would have definitely been in danger because we have brush on this side of the turbines and we would have had a major fire.”  Hear audio of his interview with ECM: http://kiwi6.com/file/bk3qywd787

Elliott says in recent days, he and his wife have been hearing unusual turbine noises. “Sounds like the bearings are going out on many of them…They screech and they howl…It sounds like many of them are pretty much ready for an overhaul,” he stated.

A spotter plane, two bomber planes and a helicopter responded, Elliott said, adding that the fixed wing aircraft “weren’t able to do a real good job because of high winds…The helicopter came in and actually saved the day.”

Retired Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Ostrander told ECM the scenario could have been far worse.  “Luckily it was not during a Santa Ana,” said Ostrander, who has long warned that wind turbines pose fire hazards in the backcountry.

A red flag alert for high fire danger was in effect just one day earlier, but had been lifted by today.  Moreover while windy, the gusts were not approaching the speeds that occur in the area during Santa Ana Winds on this cool, winter day with some humidity in the air.

Even with such favorable weather conditions, it took a response from multiple agencies including Cal-Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Heartland Fire and possibly others to bring the blazes under control.  Read full article here…


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One Comment on “California: Wind Turbine Explodes Causing Brush Fires”

  1. cornwallwindwatch December 17, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

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