California, USA wildfires, inadequate warnings

This video from the USA says about itself:

11 October 2017

California wildfires are devastating everything in their path. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, the hosts of The Young Turks, show you footage of the aftermath from the fires.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The deadly wildfires devastating Northern California continued to spread across dry hills and vineyards Wednesday, prompting more evacuations from a menacing arc of flames that has killed at least 21 people, destroyed more than 3,500 buildings and battered the region’s renowned wine-growing industry.

Officials expect the death toll to rise as crews begin to reach heavily burned areas. Hundreds in flame-ravaged Sonoma County remain missing, and higher winds coupled with low humidity and parched lands could either hamper efforts to contain the fires or create new ones.

“We’re not out of the woods, and we’re not going to be out of the woods for a number of days to come,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re literally looking at explosive vegetation. These fires are burning actively during the day and at night.”

What makes these fast-moving fires particularly dangerous, Pimlott said, is that they “aren’t just in the backwoods. . . . These fires are burning in and around developed communities.”

Nearly two dozen large fires have been raging in the northern part of the state, sending thousands of residents to evacuation centers and burning roughly 170,000 acres — a collective area larger than the city of Chicago. That size is likely to grow.”

Read more here.

By Rafael Azul and Eric London in the USA:

Why didn’t Northern Californian county governments use Wireless Emergency Alerts to warn residents of breakout wildfires?

16 October 2017

Over a week has passed since the most devastating fires in California history ignited Northern California. The death toll is still climbing, reaching 40 as of Sunday night. One hundred and seventy two people are still missing in Sonoma County, the hardest hit of the four affected counties, and another 74 are unaccounted for in neighboring Napa County.

Neither Napa nor Sonoma counties alerted residents of the fires through Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) systems. Despite the fact that such technology is readily available, many of the dead and injured were caught sleeping, completely unprepared for what was coming. In some cases the victims did not hear horns or the desperate knocking of neighbors. Many rural residents beyond the reach of local police departments were left with no warning at all, their limited escape routes quickly engulfed by flames.

But the Washington Post reported yesterday that in neighboring Lake County, due north of Sonoma, local officials did send out an emergency blast that activated all cellphones, “turning them into the equivalent of squawking alarms.” Untold lives were saved by this activation of the WEA. Lake County is the only affected county that has reported zero fire deaths.

According to the Post:

“Of the four counties in Northern California where residents were killed in fires this week, two—Sonoma and Mendocino—had agreements in place with FEMA that enabled them to send alerts. Yuba and Napa counties did not, according to federal records.”

In Sonoma, local officials justified their failure to activate wireless notification on the grounds that it would produce mass panic and “because the warning is not targeted,” a county spokesperson said, adding, “to keep everyone safe we chose not to use a mass alert that would have reached areas not affected by the fire.”

The result was a nightmare. In Santa Rosa, the largest city in Sonoma County, the smoke and heat of approaching flames woke people in residential neighborhoods shortly after 1:00 AM. “Something told me, death, go, leave,” Julie Pilacelli, a resident of Santa Rosa’s Hemlock Street told the Los Angeles Times.

By 1:30 AM, most of the of Pilacelli’s neighbors were waking each other up and fleeing their homes. There had been no warning, no phone calls, no alarms. Eventually a lone patrol car with a megaphone but no alarm sound drove up Hemlock telling people to leave. “We were left high and dry,” said Jimmy Warren, also of Hemlock Street. “No one was there to help.”

County officials claim that warning the population would have clogged roads, but they have offered no explanation as to why emergency services did not have a county-wide evacuation plan in place to prepare for the inevitability of large fires, a common occurrence in rural and semi-rural parts of Northern California.

This week’s fires have far surpassed previous fires in death and destruction because unlike previous rural wildfires, these were able to approach densely urban areas. In this case, entire residential neighborhoods were left sleeping without warning as flames swept down from the hills despite the fact that they are situated right next to highways and would have been easy to evacuate with proper warning.

A FEMA spokesperson told CNN on Saturday that contrary to Sonoma County government claims, agencies sending emergency notifications do have “the option of providing geographic coordinates defining the area where the alert is to be targeted” with basic information like the location of cell phone towers.

In response, another Sonoma County spokesperson gave residents cold comfort then she told CNN on Sunday, “It’s something we’ll absolutely be looking into as part of our after-action plan.” Sonoma County already has WEA capabilities, unlike Napa, which has reportedly not used WEAs.

Even those who did sign up for the alerts often received notice several hours after the flames had enveloped their neighborhoods. A reader of the World Socialist Web Site reported that his family in Sonoma County was only alerted of approaching fires by a call from a neighbor and barely made it out alive. Three hours after the family evacuated, they received their cell phone evacuation notice from the county.

Many elderly people were evacuated from residential nursing homes with just minutes to spare and without public warning. The San Francisco Chronicle’s growing list of the dead includes many elderly or infirm people who may have been able to survive had they been warned and evacuated in a timely manner.

Different levels of local and state government have responded with a blame game. Governor Jerry Brown also has the capacity to activate the warning system, but administration officials sought to pass the buck on to local officials: “From the state level we wouldn’t do that,” said Kelly Houston, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “Alerts and warnings happen on a local level…They decide what are the appropriate alerts for their population.”

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano in turn blamed residents for failing to sign up for an emergency alert system that sends out texts in emergencies. “If you don’t sign your cellphone up, you don’t get that service,” Giordano said. “So the message is, sign up for SoCoAlerts if you live in this county.”

On Friday, a Sonoma County spokesman said that only 2 percent of the county’s 500,000 residents signed up for the emergency warning system, an indication of how little was done by the government to advertise the system.

Lake County officials explained their decision to activate the WEA system was simple: “We had folks that were in immediate danger, and wanting to notify them of the situation,” Police Lt. Corey Paulich said. Lake County regularly sends out WEAs for weather and criminal alerts. The county also uses an app called CodeRed which notifies residents of impending disasters. In short text messages, Lake County residents were told where the fire was and where their assigned evacuation center was located.

According to the federal government’s emergency preparedness website, WEAs “look like text messages, but are designed to get your attention and alert you with a unique sound and vibration.” They “are no more than 90 characters, and will include the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, as well as the agency issuing the alert.” They are simple, cheap, and effective, often used to send “Amber alerts”, warning drivers to be on the lookout for child abductors.

Sonoma County’s decision not to activate the WEA for fear of causing panic is not a justified “spur of the moment” judgment call. It betrays the government’s incompetence and its lack of confidence in its own evacuation emergency plans. Moreover, the county’s fears of causing panic indicate that county officials and police feared that social tensions in the county—and particularly in the working class and immigrant neighborhoods of Santa Rosa—have reached the point that a panic would produce riots or looting.

There is no telling how many lives would have been saved had the county governments flicked the switch and activated their warning systems. There is a telling difference between the lack of emergency preparations for natural disasters and the massive degree of government preparation in response to peaceful demonstrations against police violence, for example.

As in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, the task of saving lives and property falls to the working class. Thousands of firefighters have converged from all over the country into a veritable army that is combatting the flames in multi-day shifts. These firefighters continue to risk their lives to control the flames and have contained several of the fires. Despite the firefighters’ best efforts, high winds Saturday whipped up new fires like the large one that has now engulfed the Mayacamas mountain range, threatening the small towns of Kenwood, Glen Ellen, and Oakmont.

Reports indicate that up to one-third of all those fighting the flames are prisoners, paid just $1 per hour for the extremely dangerous job. Residents of the affected towns greet firefighters with massive rounds of applause wherever they are sighted in public and have even gathered to keep residents quiet in areas where firefighters are sleeping. Fire departments have had to issue public statements asking that the public cease donations of food and drink on account of the already overwhelming showing of public support.

CALIFORNIA FIRES EXPOSE FLAWS IN EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM 65 percent of U.S. counties reportedly do not have the authorization to send advisories via wireless emergency alerts. And wine country isn’t the only thing that’s been destroyed — just ask the cannabis growers. [HuffPost]


Thousands of Londoners commemorate Grenfell Tower fire

This video from London, England says about itself:

The Grenfell Tower silent march on October 14th [2017] was the biggest yet. Over 2000 people turned up to show solidarity with the residents of North Kensington as they walked to remember those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire.

British Conservative government damages fire safety

At a march demanding Justice for Grenfell a local resident holds a piece of the cladding which contributed to the deaths in North Kensington

This photo shows a march in London, England demanding Justice for Grenfell, where a local resident holds a piece of the cladding which contributed to the deaths in North Kensington.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 14 October 2017


ALMOST a third of fire safety inspectors have been cut by this Tory government, a new report revealed, leaving buildings which are potential fire traps unchecked, putting the general public’s lives in jeopardy.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), who compiled the figures from a series of Freedom of Information requests, says the staggering 28% drop in inspector numbers across the UK is a ‘risk to public safety’.

The union warns that the real figure could be much higher as some fire and rescue services do not know how many inspectors they employed in 2010. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, which covers England’s third biggest city, Leeds, was hardest hit, losing 70% of its inspectors. Fire services in Gloucestershire, Durham, Cumbria, Norfolk and Avon all lost more than half of their fire safety specialists.

Fire safety inspectors are responsible for ensuring that communal buildings and public spaces meet fire safety standards. An essential part of fire prevention, the inspectors have played an important role in the long term reduction of serious fires – a trend that is under threat if the cuts continue, the FBU has warned.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: ‘Fire safety specialists play an essential role in the fire service. They help to enforce fire safety regulations that save lives and prevent damage to property. Fire services need proper funding, more inspectors and greater support if they are to continue keeping people safe.

Grenfell Tower has underlined the importance of fire safety in buildings. The drastic cut in fire safety inspectors makes it much more difficult for those remaining to do their job effectively. The government needs to wake up to what endless budget cuts have done to the lifesaving fire service.’

The impact of the reduction could be worse than feared as 16 fire and rescue services could not provide data on the number of fire safety inspectors they employed in 2010. The union says this is proof that the government’s ‘laissez-faire’ approach to regulating fire services, leaving the responsibility to local authorities, has backfired.

HM Inspector of Fire Services in England and Wales, the organisation that had been recording these figures, was scrapped in 2000. Since then, data on inspector numbers has been patchy with some fire services unable to produce figures when asked. The FBU’s October parliamentary briefing paper entitled Fire and Rescue Service Matters states: ‘Cuts to the number of fire safety inspectors, who are responsible for vital statutory fire safety inspections and audits, are putting the public at risk.

‘These are the inspectors who audit hospitals, schools, offices, shops as well as other communal and public spaces to check the owners are complying with safety law. Under the Fire Safety Order 2005, or similar legislation in the devolved administrations, fire and rescue authorities have important duties to enforce fire safety law.

‘Yet the number of professional, specially-trained fire safety inspectors who carry out this irreplaceable work has been cut for the past two decades. Since 2010, the number of fire safety inspectors has fallen by 28%. This is greater than the drastic fall in staffing right across the fire and rescue service, which is approximately 20%.

‘Since 2013, the number of fire safety inspectors has fallen by 13%. Four fifths of fire and rescue services provided data, indicating that a significant minority are not even in a position to quantify their inspectors at present. The Grenfell Tower fire has underlined the importance of the work of fire safety inspectors.

‘The London Fire Brigade was able to provide detailed figures for our request – a decade ago the LFB had over 200 fire safety inspectors, but this has been reduced to just over 150 in 2017. There are currently 1,169 fire safety inspectors across the UK. The Westminster government does not routinely publish figures on the number of these inspectors.

‘The old HM inspector of fire services in England and Wales, scrapped at the turn of the century, reported these figures annually. In 1996-97, it estimated there were 1,724 fire safety inspectors in England and Wales. Today there are 1,041 indicating a 40% fall in the number of inspectors over the last twenty years.’

A Glasgow tower block with ‘Grenfell-style’ cladding is being checked by firefighters every four hours. Residents of Castlebank Drive in the Glasgow Harbour development also have two 24-hour fire wardens on the site. However, this is cold comfort to all those who live in these blocks who remain in fear for their lives.

Firefighters are so worried about the building found to have Grenfell-style cladding that they are checking on it at least three times a day and three times every night. Homeowners received letters telling them cladding in lift areas and the roof could be similar to that used in Grenfell Tower in London, where so many men, women and children burnt to death in the inferno in June.

Council contractors last week removed samples of cladding for testing. One resident of the flats said they have now been told the cladding in their property has been identified as ‘high risk’. They said: ‘The cladding in my block and one other has no fire resistance at all.

‘We now have two 24-hour fire wardens, four-hourly visits from the fire brigade and a huge amount of parking attendants ensuring that access is clear. I would’ve thought the emergency should have been immediately after Grenfell – not four months later.’

David McGown, of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said two properties had been identified by Glasgow City Council as raising concerns. He added: ‘As part of a package of reassurance measures, firefighters are conducting regular site visits at both these properties. Our community action teams are also offering residents free home fire safety visits.’

Aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding became notorious after the Grenfell fire on June 14. It was thought to have played a part in the rapid spread of the blaze. Last month, a senior Glasgow City Council official revealed that a survey done in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire identified combustible cladding on privately owned flats in the city.

British government breaks fire safety promise

This 21 June 2017 video from the USA about London, England is called How Neoliberalism Caused The Grenfell Tower Fire.

By Robert Stevens in Britain:

UK government refuses funds for unsafe tower blocks post-Grenfell

13 October 2017

Thousands of people nationally are living in buildings that are unsafe, in both the public and private sector, due to the criminal inaction of local and central government.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, it was revealed that in England alone at least 228 high-rise buildings, over 18 metres in height, were potential death traps. They all have the same or similar aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding that was a central factor in a small kitchen blaze in a fourth floor flat that engulfed the entire 24-storey building.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, with an estimated 30,000 buildings—of all types and sizes—throughout the UK possibly having similar cladding.

After the fire, the Conservative government was forced to instruct councils and housing associations to compile lists of buildings that were deemed unsafe. The government claimed that money would be forthcoming for cash-strapped councils—whose budgets have been slashed, in some cases by 50 percent over the last decade—to complete remedial work.

This was a lie. Councils are faced with bills that run into the tens of millions of pounds to remove and replace flammable cladding. In addition, no money has been made available to help fund the installation of sprinkler systems, despite fire brigades insisting they are essential to prevent the spread of fires in tower blocks.

Even a tower block adjacent to Grenfell Tower has been revealed as unsafe. An investigation by the LBC Radio station, in which Chartered Surveyor and fire safety expert Arnold Tarling inspected the building, found “insecure rubbish chutes running all the way up the building; fire escapes with doors so heavy and stiff, they were inaccessible to disabled people; and fire doors that are flammable.”

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), 31 local authorities have demanded funding from the government for carrying out remedial work. A Guardian article reported that the DCLG is in talks with just six authorities while “others had been invited to provide further information about how the work they wished to undertake was essential.”

In the city of Salford, north west England, the Labour-run council has borrowed £25 million to fund the removal of flammable cladding from nine tower blocks that tests found had “no flame retardant properties.” The council has contacted the government regarding providing funding for the work without success.

Thousands of high-rise blocks in the UK do not have sprinkler systems installed, as fitting them has only been legally required since 2007, and only then in new-build high-rises over 30 metres tall, in England. The legislation did not apply to older blocks. It is estimated that just 2 percent of tower blocks in England have sprinkler systems.

Following Grenfell, fire brigades nationally have insisted that retroactively fitting sprinklers systems in all high-rises was necessary to prevent future catastrophes. Last month, Paul Atkins, a fire safety expert who will present testimony at the Grenfell Inquiry, told the BBC, “If they’d [the Grenfell residents] had a sprinkler system the fire would have been deluged before it got to the cladding. … To date no-one has ever died in a fire with a sprinkler system in the household, so the proof’s in the pudding. You’ve got a 99 percent chance of surviving.”

According to Atkins, installing a sprinkler system in Grenfell Tower would have cost between £500,000 and £700,000.

According to the Guardian, at least four councils—Westminster, Croydon and Wandsworth in London and Nottingham in the east Midlands—have been refused central government money to fund sprinkler systems. Nottingham council proposed to install sprinklers in 13 towers at a cost of £6.2 million. Demonstrating the criminal disregard of the ruling elite for the safety of thousands of social housing residents, they were told bluntly by Housing Minister Alok Sharma that money would not be forthcoming as “The fire safety measures you outline are additional rather than essential.”

Post-Grenfell, the government instructed local authorities and housing associations to carry out surveys on the safety of buildings under their control, but private sector owners of high-rises were not compelled to do so. Private owners of developments less than 18 metres tall are exempt from any responsibility.

In June, the DCLG said it was merely “offering private owners of residential buildings [in England only] an opportunity to test cladding on blocks over 18 meters high …” A letter sent to private owners stated, “If you wish to take up this offer, then you will need to submit samples for testing” and “Cut out two samples of at least 250x250mm in size from each location sampled.” Such samples were then to be sent to a testing centre in a jiffy bag!

All political parties are implicated.

Scotland is run by a Scottish National Party (SNP) administration, and for decades before that by Labour Party local authorities.

Last month, it emerged that combustible cladding had been installed on many private high-rise blocks in the city of Glasgow, with residents living there not informed.

At first 57 blocks were identified as unsafe, before this figure was reduced to 19 without explanation. It was only at the end of September that residents in the 19 blocks were even informed that they were living in buildings with combustible cladding.

SNP-run Glasgow City Council has refused to publicly identify either the original 57 blocks or the 19. However, last week the Evening Times reported that three of the privately-owned blocks are located at Glasgow Harbour. Two of the towers contain 273sqm of cladding and another smaller block, 37sqm.

In 2005, following the 1999 Irvine Tower fire, regulations were passed by the Scottish government, then under Labour control determining that all materials used for “external cladding and associated cavities” were required to be non-combustible and the entire system should inhibit the spread of fire. However, this condition was not imposed on tower blocks built and clad prior to that date—meaning that the safety of many tenants and property owners in social housing and privately-owned blocks remain threatened.

In Slough, the council has been forced to take over the freehold of privately-owned Nova House—at an unknown cost to the public purse—after it failed two safety tests. The block houses 200 residents and has combustible ACM cladding. It is estimated that the cost of making the building safe is £1 million with the council stating that the previous private owner, Ground Rents Estates 5 Limited, did not have “the capacity to do what is needed …”

Since September 27, a fire engine has been permanently stationed—at the council’s expense—in the car park next to the block.

As with Grenfell Tower, it appears that cost cutting was involved in the cladding process, as the original cladding intended for the building that would have passed safety checks was not used.

Nearly four months since the Grenfell Tower fire, and a month since the government inquiry into the inferno began, not a single person has been charged let alone arrested for a crime in which scores perished.

The Metropolitan Police have not said a word about its “criminal investigation” since September 19 when it said officers would continue working in the tower into the New Year and only open another police operation into Grenfell when that was finished.

Hundreds of survivors of the fire remain in temporary accommodation, with just 10 households out of 203 permanently rehoused.

California, USA wildfire survivors interviewed

Air quality in California

This picture shows air quality in California as wildfires rage on Thursday 12 October 2017 (red is unhealthy).

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

Evacuees speak about devastating California fires

By our reporters

13 October 2017

The fires in Northern California continued to spread Thursday with little sign of diminishing. By the afternoon the death toll reached 31, making it the deadliest outbreak of wildfires in the state’s history. Nearly two dozen major fires have burned almost 200,000 acres since Sunday, causing rapid evacuations and widespread devastation.

Many of the largest fires continue to burn out of control with strong dry winds expected to continue to fan the flames today. The Atlas fire, which has burned over 40,000 acres near Napa, is only 3 percent contained. The Tubbs fire, which scoured Santa Rosa and threatens nearby Calistoga, is only 10 percent contained.

Most of the fires are currently burning in rural areas with a lower population but thousands of people are under mandatory evacuation orders.

The fires tore into the city of Santa Rosa, population 175,000, Sunday night and have forced the evacuation of Calistoga in the Napa Valley. At least 3,500 buildings have been destroyed across Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, and Yuba counties. Roughly 400 people remain missing and the death toll is expected to rise well past the 29 people killed in Southern California’s Griffith Park fire of 1933.

Air quality across the state has deteriorated with the Air Quality Index affecting the 7 million people of the entire San Francisco Bay Area officially declared “unhealthy.” Many schools across the area closed.

The majority of deaths came from the initial burning of the northern part of Santa Rosa on Sunday night. Many people had to flee their homes after waking up in the middle of night to smoke before hearing of any evacuation orders.

A burned truck in Santa Rosa

The lack of modern emergency infrastructure became apparent in the early hours of the fire when emergency officials decided not to send out a mass cell phone alert because they could only send it to the entire county and not just those affected. Old methods of notifying evacuees like radio, auto-dialers, and door-to-door canvassing left many residents completely unaware of the fast approaching fire.

Details of those killed in the fires are starting to emerge—many of the victims were elderly or disabled and living in trailer homes. Sara and Charles Rippey, 98 and 100, died just a few months after their 75th wedding anniversary in their Napa home. Christina Hanson, 27, was confined to a wheelchair and died when her house burned.

Kai Sheperd, 14, died as his family tried to flee the Redwood Valley Fire. His family of four initially tried to escape the fire in two cars down a dirt road but proceeded on foot after the fire cut them off. Kai’s sister and parents suffered severe burns and remain hospitalized.

Nearly 8,000 firefighters have been trying to divert the fires from urban centers, and many are reaching the breaking point from constant work. “We’ve got guys who have been working 80 hours straight,” Captain Sean Norman, deputy head of operations for the Sonoma Valley fires, told the Los Angeles Times. Roughly a third of California’s firefighters are prisoners who work in these dangerous conditions for approximately $1 a day.

Satellite view of the California fires (Credit: European Space Agency)

Reporters with the World Socialist Web Site traveled to evacuation centers in Sonoma County Thursday to speak with some of those affected.

Ed and his daughter Jasmine were at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa, after having to flee the nearby city of Calistoga. The fire reached their house in the middle of the night and they had to leave at 1 a.m. on Monday, before any official evacuation order was put in place. Ed worked as a mechanic but had to stop due to blood clots and Parkinson’s disease. Jasmine is a student and works at McDonald’s.

“We only took a few things with us, like our phones,” Jasmine said. “We’re not people who can afford electronics a lot of the time.” They went back to find everything they had left destroyed. “I don’t really know how we’ll recover,” Ed added.

“I’ve been here most of my life and I haven’t seen the government do much to prevent fires,” Ed continued. “Congress is paid a lot of money to do nothing.” Jasmine added, “The government should have recognized the danger sooner.”

Ed and Jasmine

Both noted the impact of rising housing prices and growing social inequality in the area. “Out here, there are a few expensive cars, but a lot of homeless people too,” Jasmine noted. “How can anyone make a living anymore when all their money goes to rent?”

While housing speculation has been a boon for real estate developers and financiers, infrastructure has been allowed to decay. State investigators are looking into whether the current fires were caused by poorly maintained power lines owned by the local utility monopoly Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Around the same time the fires broke out Sunday night, dispatchers in Sonoma County received a spate of calls about downed power lines and sparking transformers, as PG&E’s outdated infrastructure faltered under heavy winds.

Chris, a volunteer at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, had sharp words for the utility company: “PG&E does not have a good track record; that’s a fact! Why do we still have electrical wires above ground? That’s old infrastructure. The poles are around material that’s instantly combustible. Really the city should own those wires.”

In April PG&E was fined $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador County. In 1994, state regulators fined the company $30 million over its power lines in the Sierras and prosecutors claimed the company had diverted $80 million from its tree cutting program to profits.

CALIFORNIA FIRES NOW DEADLIEST IN STATE HISTORY At least 31 people have died, and experts believe the death toll will climb. The satellite and aerial photos capture the scope of the tragedy. And this haunting video shows a U.S. postal worker delivering mail to scorched shells of homes. [HuffPost]

Among the victims of the fires that have ripped through California’s wine country this week are thousands of undocumented workers, who make up the work force of vineyards, wineries and in tourism: here.