Fresno fire crews help sur­vey quake dam­age

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY CRESENCIO RO­DRIGUEZ-DEL­GADO cdel­[email protected]­

The City of Fresno’s Re­gional Task Force 5 is among the crews in Ridgecrest to help ex­am­ine the dam­age and pro­vide as­sis­tance fol­low­ing Fri­day’s pow­er­ful earth­quake, ac­cord­ing to Fresno Fire Depart­ment spokesman Robert Castillo.

Lo­cal crews are among sev­eral state de­part­ments that were de­ployed to the Mo­jave Desert on Fri­day night af­ter the 7.1 tem­blor hit around 8:20 p.m. – the strong­est earth­quake to strike South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in 20 years.

Fire crews on Satur­day were do­ing a sec­ondary assessment of dam­age, which in­cluded a “more thor­ough” look into dam­age and the in­tegrity of struc­tures. An im­me­di­ate check was done by lo­cal crews dur­ing the night hours.

The Fresno crews are as­signed to the north­west part of Ridgecrest and the small town of Inyok­ern, west of Ridgecrest. That re­gion, east of Bak­ers­field over the Se­qouia Na­tional For­est, has be­come the hard­est hit place for the lat­est earth­quakes.

Ridgecrest holds a pop­u­la­tion of 29,000 and nearby Trona, which has also faced dam­age, has a pop­u­la­tion of 1,800, ac­cord­ing to Mark Ghi­lar­ducci, direc­tor of

the state Of­fice of Emer­gency Ser­vices.

Fires were sparked and power out­ages be­came widespread af­ter the rock­ing from the earth­quake and a se­ries of af­ter­shocks.

The Fresno crews will be in the Mo­jave Desert un­til at least Mon­day, as of­fi­cials warn of more earth­quakes, fol­low­ing a se­quence of shak­ing that hasn’t stopped since a 6.4 earth­quake struck the re­gion on Fourth of July.


There have been at least 5,000 earth­quakes in the past seven days com­ing from the same re­gion, but not all have reached large mag­ni­tudes, said Fresno State ge­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor Christo­pher Pluhar.

Many Fres­nans and res­i­dents through­out the Val­ley felt the rock­ing from Fri­day’s strong earth­quake.

Still, the Fresno re­gion has stayed rel­a­tively safe from vi­o­lent shak­ing that af­fects other parts of the state.

Ge­o­graph­i­cally, Fresno is lo­cated in be­tween sev­eral earth­quake-prone faults. But none reach the city close enough to cause sig­nif­i­cant danger, Pluhar said.

He also added the near­est faults have not pro­duced re­cent earth­quakes.

The clas­si­fi­ca­tion of the Ridgecrest-area earth­quakes have changed from main­shocks, af­ter­shocks and fore­shocks. Fri­day’s earth­quake sur­passed Thurs­day’s earth­quake as the main­shock, which is the most pow­er­ful quake in a se­ries.

Fore­shocks come be­fore larger seis­mic events, and af­ter­shocks are smaller quakes that oc­cur af­ter strong earth­quakes.

Of­fi­cials pre­dict a small per­cent chance that a larger earth­quake could come af­ter Fri­day’s.

“The num­ber of earth­quakes seems nor­mal,” Pluhar said. “It’s just a tes­ta­ment that it’s an active area. The peo­ple who live in that area should ex­pect that there will be more earth­quakes.”

Pluhar said he has no­ticed a strange shape to the di­rec­tion of the tem­blors. He said at first it shaped an “L” but now the quakes have shaped a “T.” He said that may sug­gest there is pos­si­bly more than one active fault in the same area.

“Nor­mally, the af­ter­shocks fol­low some kind of a line that de­fines the fault,” he said.

But Pluhar said Satur­day the Mo­jave Desert re­gion has not had its fault lines well-mapped, be­cause some faults may have been con­cealed by sed­i­ments. He said this pro­vides ex­perts the opportunit­y to learn about new faults.


Photo pro­vided

Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard Maj. Gen. David Bald­win speaks Satur­day dur­ing a brief­ing on the 7.1 earth­quake in the Mo­jave Desert. Bald­win said mil­i­tary per­son­nel are ready to move in if needed af­ter the dis­as­ter.

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