Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: NWS Issues First-Ever "Extreme" Red Flag Warning in California
EDM Wednesday Briefing: NWS Issues First-Ever "Extreme" Red Flag Warning in California

EDM Wednesday Briefing: NWS Issues First-Ever "Extreme" Red Flag Warning in California

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 30, 2019: A shooting at a Halloween costume party in Long Beach killed three and injured nine others; the NWS issued its first-ever "extreme" red flag warning for a large portion of Southern California; thousands have been forced to evacuate as the Kincade Fire continues to burn out of control in Sonoma County; PG&E and SoCal Edison have warned of yet another round of PSPS amid the extreme red flag warning; CalFire noted that there are 11 active wildfires burning in the state that are significant; a pilot was killed when his small plane crashed into a home in New Jersey; and an overdose call at a Walmart in Oberlin, Ohio, quickly became a HAZMAT situation after first responders went unresponsive.

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1) Late Tuesday night, first responders in Long Beach arrived at the scene of a shooting at a residence where a costume party was being held. The scene was declared a mass casualty incident with a total of 12 patients, including three fatalities and nine others who were injured. Some of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries. Authorities have not released any information regarding the suspect or suspects involved in the shooting, which remained under investigation early Wednesday morning.

2) The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued its first-ever "extreme" red flag warning for much of Southern California, beginning Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. and expiring Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Conditions across the region are very dangerous; warm temperatures, single digit humidity levels, dry vegetation, high winds and hurricane-force wind gusts are forecast for parts of the area, making for extremely critical fire weather conditions. NWS meteorologist Joe Sirard noted that "This is not a routine red flag warning event," and officials have cautioned residents to be aware of the extremely high fire danger that exists due to the warm and dry conditions.

3) The Kincade Fire continues to burn out of control in Sonoma County, California, with containment at only 15 percent. The wildfire has scorched more than 73,130 acres and destroyed 189 structures, including at least 86 homes. It has also damaged another 39 structures and caused at least two injuries. A total of 4,870 personnel have been assigned to the fire, and at least 180,000 residents have been issued mandatory evacuation orders.

4) California residents are facing another round of PSPS (public safety power shutoffs) amid an extreme red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). Currently, Pacific Gas & Electric has shut off power to nearly 596,000 customers, or about 1.5 million people, across at least 20 counties in Northern California. In Southern California, over 300,000 SoCal Edison customers in five counties are likely to face shutoffs due to a Santa Ana wind event, which is forecast early Wednesday through Thursday evening.

5) According to CalFire, at least 11 active wildfires in the state are considered significant, including the Kincade Fire burning in Sonoma County and the Tick, Getty, and Saddleridge fires burning in Los Angeles County. The Getty Fire continues to burn in the Santa Monica mountains, just north of Los Angeles. The wildfire, which was sparked by a falling tree branch on power lines, has already scorched 656 acres, destroyed 12 homes, damaged at least five others and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

6) A pilot is dead after his small plane crashed into an unoccupied home in New Jersey on Tuesday. The crash ignited a fire which spread to another nearby home, but the occupant escaped injury. It is unclear what caused the Cessna 414 to crash into the home, but weather conditions were cloudy and misty at the time. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the crash.

7) First responders reported to an overdose call in the Walmart parking lot in Oberlin, Ohio, on Tuesday and the incident quickly became a HAZMAT situation. The officers who responded to the overdose call went unresponsive after being exposed to a substance when interacting with the individual who overdosed. According to reports, five health care workers in the emergency room at Mercy Health Allen Hospital also went unresponsive after being exposed to the substance. A full decontamination of the emergency department was required, forcing its closure. Authorities asked everyone to avoid the area outside Walmart until the area could be decontaminated.

8) Emergency management agencies in 12 counties received a donation from Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to support training and enable equipment purchases. Each of the emergency management agencies in the 12 counties received $20,000, and the funds will be used in various ways, including specialty training and equipment purchases, such as a search and rescue task vehicle and a drone to start a drone program. The DAPL, which became operational in 2017, traverses the four states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. It is 1,172 miles long, and was a source of major controversy prior to its opening.

 

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.