Telecommunications Outage Report: Northern California Firestorm 2017

A report on the telecommunications outages that affected Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma Counties in the wake of the devastating fires of 2017.

Results show that in the 3-county area, 66% of residents lost landline services, 74% of residents lost cellular services, and 66% of residents lost Internet services with Napa County experiencing the most severe impacts. The 3-county average of service loss for these combined technologies is 71%. Many of these outages impacted residents that were geographically far from the actual burn areas.

During the 2017 wildfires, there were no forms of communications or technologies that worked better than the rest. Each method used for emergency notification played a crucial role in preparing residents for disaster. Technologies used by residents varied from many conventional
methods to many non-conventional forms of communications. Regardless of the ways residents were notified, collectively the different methods played a major role in saving lives.

In the entire 2017 Northern California wildfires� footprint, it is
estimated that 160,000 wireline and 85,000 wireless customers lost service, including 11-15 Public Safety Answering points losing service. Over 340 cell sites were completely destroyed or damaged.

Internet outages affected (22) internet provider services over the 3-county region; however, not all (22) providers are available within each County.

When you evacuated your residence, how did you receive warning/notice to

did not receive any warning from anyone outside my own home (23.48%)
other response (17.15%)
received a phone alert of some kind (text alert, amber alert) (15.67%)
received a phone call from a neighbor, family, friend (13.52%)
received warning from a neighbor physically at my door (12.05%)
received warning from public safety official physically at my door (6.88%)
received a reverse 9-1-1 call (3.5%)
heard sirens/bullhorns/public safety officials outside my home (3.44%)
received notice on the radio (2.03%)
heard a power outage alarm at my home (1.23%)
received notice from a press event (0.86%)
received notice from a ham radio operator (0.18%)