Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Firefighters Gain Control of California Wildfires
EDM Monday Briefing: Firefighters Gain Control of California Wildfires

EDM Monday Briefing: Firefighters Gain Control of California Wildfires


Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 14, 2019: Evacuated residents return home as winds subside and firefighters gain control of the Saddleridge Fire in California; a partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans killed two people, injured 30 and trapped at least one person; safety hazards prevent the return of residents to their homes after the Sandalwood Fire swept through a mobile home community in Calimesa; power has been fully restored to homes in Northern California, but PG&E cautions that new Public Safety Power Shutoffs are possible in the near future; at least 55 people were killed when Typhoon Hagibis brought high winds and heavy rainfall that caused widespread flooding and landslides in Japan; the NHC is monitoring three systems in the Atlantic Basin for tropical development; passengers traveling through Philadelphia's International Airport may have been exposed to the measles; and Ebola cases may be shrinking but WHO says that continued success against the disease is tied to the level of access and security in affected regions.

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1) As windy conditions began to subside Saturday, firefighters were able to gain ground on the Saddleridge Fire burning north of Los Angeles, California. Residents were able to return home as evacuation orders were lifted. The wildfire, which began Thursday around 9:00 p.m. near Sylma, has consumed nearly 8,000 acres and forced the evacuation of about 100,000 residents as Santa Ana winds sent a curtain of fire towards communities. The wildfire, now 42 percent contained, destroyed at least 25 structures, including homes. It has since moved away from neighborhoods and into hillsides as winds shifted and humidity levels rose.

2) The partial collapse of a hotel under construction in New Orleans on Saturday killed two people, injured 30 others and trapped at least one person. The Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed at around 9:15 a.m., and first responder search and rescue efforts had to be halted overnight Saturday as hazardous conditions prevented safe entry into the building by rescuers. The collapse damaged a massive crane and left it teetering precariously, and experts were brought in to assist in getting it stabilized.

3) Residents were still unable to return to their homes Sunday in Calimesa after the Sandalwood Fire swept through a mobile home community, killed two people, destroyed at least 76 structures and damaged 14 others. About 500 people were evacuated from the community on Thursday after a brush fire -- which began about 1:45 p.m. near the 10 Freeway -- charred at least 1,011 acres. Fire officials stated that the wildfire was sparked by burning trash from a garbage truck, was fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and is now 86 percent contained, but ensuring the safety of residents was a top priority before they could return to their homes.

4) Nearly all homes and businesses in Northern California impacted by the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) had their power restored by Saturday. The PSPS began early Wednesday amid red flag warnings and critical fire weather forecasts, prompting the shutoffs for nearly two million people. Winds began to die down over the weekend, allowing firefighters to gain control of multiple fires that had begun in the state, making it possible to lift evacuation orders.

5) Typhoon Hagibis slammed into the island of Honshu in Japan, bringing wind gusts of up to 134 mph as it wreaked havoc across many regions before it moved offshore on Sunday. A massive search and rescue operation was underway Sunday after the typhoon brought heavy rains that produced widespread flooding and landslides, killing at least 55 people. The typhoon also caused power and water outages, grounded flights, halted public transportation and destroyed crops in rural farm areas.

6) The Atlantic hurricane season runs through November 30. Although the 2019 season is almost over, multiple areas in the Atlantic Basin are being monitored for tropical development. There are currently three disturbances being monitored in the Atlantic Basin -- one off the coast of Africa that has a high chance of development and two others in the Caribbean Sea that have low chances of development. This late in the season, tropical storm development is less likely; however, the next named storm in the Atlantic Basin would be called Nestor.

7) State health officials in Pennsylvania announced Friday that passengers who traveled through the Philadelphia International Airport may have been exposed to the measles. The potential exposure occurred on October 2 and October 3 when an individual with a case of the measles was present at the airport. Notifications to Pennsylvanians who were on flights with the suspected case were being conducted by county and municipal health departments in conjunction with the state, but other travelers who visited specific areas on those days should be sure to monitor themselves for any signs or symptoms of the disease.

8) The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 3,210, with a total of 2,146 deaths after two more cases were confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday. However, officials say transmission is slowing and the outbreak is shrinking, with a declining number of new cases being diagnosed over recent weeks. The WHO cautioned however, that the level of access and security in affected regions has implications in the continued decline of the disease.



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.