California Battles Brace of Statewide Wildfires

Multiple wildfire outbreaks across California are closing major highways resulting in power outages; outages that are leaving some traffic signals inoperative, increasing intersection safety concerns.

Toks Omishakin at left.

“During this season of wildfires and high winds, we want to make sure that everybody stays safe on our transportation network,” Adetokunbo “Toks” Omishakin, the new director of the California Department of Transportation, explained in a video statement posted to the agency’s Facebook page.

“Also make sure if approaching a signal where the power is out, make sure you treat it as a four-way stop,” he stressed. “It is very important for all of us using our transportation system to be safe.”

[Editor’s note: Caltrans posted a video in September explaining how to navigate intersections if a traffic signal is inoperative. The agency operates 5,000 traffic signals statewide.]

Governor Gavin Newsom recently issued a statewide emergency declaration due to wildfires in Northern and Southern California, as well as utility-directed power shutoffs that have impacted millions of residents this month.

Gov. Newsom (at right) with Ventura County Firefighters.

He is also touting a variety of new and existing partnerships in which local, state, business, and philanthropy entities are working together to assist families and businesses affected by the conflagrations.

“Californians are bearing the brunt of these wildfires and power shutoffs, with daily lives and routines being disrupted and turned upside down. I am a firm believer that it takes a community to get us through the tough times together,” the governor said in a statement.

“That’s why my administration is pulling together resources to make sure people have access to their basic needs, and that businesses have resources to help them get back on their feet,” Gov. Newsom added.


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