Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Arizona Approved for FEMA Assistance Amid Outbreak of Wildfires
EDM Friday Briefing: Arizona Approved for FEMA Assistance Amid Outbreak of Wildfires

EDM Friday Briefing: Arizona Approved for FEMA Assistance Amid Outbreak of Wildfires

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 12, 2020: A suspect who shot four officers and killed one other person was killed in a shootout with police on Thursday; record high temperatures and low humidity spark wildfires across California; travel disruptions may occur as heavy rainfall leading to widespread flooding is forecast along the I-95 corridor into this weekend; at least 81 people were killed and seven abducted in Nigeria in a reported attack by a Boko Haram terrorist cell; widespread damage across the Upper Midwest, including downed power lines and trees, was caused by a derecho; mandatory evacuations have been issued for hundreds of homes north of Tucson as the Bighorn Fire continues to burn out of control; PG&E announced it is taking unprecedented steps to mitigate damage during the 2020 wildfire season; and the Lime Fire broke out in Ventura County, prompting evacuation orders for remote areas.

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1) Four law enforcement officers were wounded, and one person was killed in a shooting spree that targeted police officers in California. The suspect, Mason James Lira, 26, began his assault on Wednesday when he opened fire on the Paso Robles police station, shooting one officer in the head. Lira, who is also suspected of killing a man who may have been camping nearby, was killed in a shootout with police on Thursday after eluding police since early Wednesday.

2) Wildfires erupted across California as high heat and dry weather persist across the region. Record-setting temperatures were recorded in at least 10 locations, including Anaheim (103), Escondido (98) and downtown Los Angeles (98) on Tuesday. The risk of fire remains high in several states, including California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, where Red Flag Warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for Friday.

3) Lingering remnants of tropical moisture from Cristobal are forecast to bring periods of heavy rainfall along the mid-Atlantic to the southern Atlantic coastal areas into the weekend. Heavy downpours with a potential to cause flooding are likely all along the I-95 corridor, which may lead to travel disruptions in areas with poor drainage. Southeastern Virginia to northern Florida are most likely to see heavy downpours Friday through Sunday.

4) Reports indicate that at least 81 people were killed in a terrorist attack in northeast Nigeria. The attack was allegedly carried out by a sleeper cell terrorist group of Boko Haram militants, who reportedly entered the village in armored tanks and trucks filled with guns. Seven people, including women, children and the head of the nomadic town Faduma Kolomdi — located in northern Borno — were abducted by the terrorists.

5) At least 450,000 people remained without power on Thursday after storms ravaged the Upper Midwest on Wednesday. The severe weather brought damaging high winds and severe thunderstorms which toppled power lines, trees, and semis. The storms also destroyed a building in Sandusky and may have spawned a tornado in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the severe and damaging weather was caused by a derecho, a line of very severe thunderstorms that swept across the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley on Wednesday.

6) Hundreds of homes have been evacuated as the Bighorn Fire continues to burn nearly out of control just north of Tucson, Arizona. The wildfire, which began last Friday due to lightning, has scorched just over 7,000 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north of the city. According to fire officials, it was only 10 percent contained as of Friday morning. The State of Arizona requested and was approved for a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the fire continues to threaten homes in the area.

7) Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has taken unprecedented steps to mitigate threats from the 2020 wildfire season in California. To decrease threats, the company has increased air patrols to spot potential equipment issues, installed wildfire cameras and will shorten their Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) by one-third. PG&E also plans to install underground power lines and stronger poles, and it has already begun installing transmission lines switches to redirect power as needed.

8) Mandatory evacuations have been issued for remote locations in Ventura County, California as the Lime Fire continues to burn. The fire erupted Wednesday afternoon near the Lake Piru campground amid high temps and low humidity. Fire officials noted that the blaze is spreading quickly across rugged terrain that is difficult to access, challenging firefighters' efforts to control the wildfire.

 

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.