Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Two Firefighters Injured Battling the Kincade Fire
EDM Monday Briefing: Two Firefighters Injured Battling the Kincade Fire

EDM Monday Briefing: Two Firefighters Injured Battling the Kincade Fire

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 28, 2019: Two firefighters were burned, one severely, while fighting the Kincade Fire over the weekend; hurricane-force winds sparked a rapid spreading of the Kincade Fire, causing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people; remnants of Tropical Storm Olga spawned high winds that wreaked havoc in several central Gulf states; I-40 was shut down west of Nashville in both directions after straight-line winds caused semi-trucks to overturn; California residents remain on edge amid red flag warnings and new alerts for high winds beginning on Tuesday; two people are dead and 14 injured after a gunman opened fire at homecoming party in Texas; and PG&E shut off power to nearly 2.5 million people and is planning another round of PSPS for at least 500,000 beginning Tuesday amid a forecast of high winds.

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1) Firefighters battled hurricane-force winds on Sunday while fighting the Kincade Fire in California. Two firefighters suffered burn injuries, including one with severe burns who was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment. The National Weather Service (NWS) stated that winds were officially sustained at 78 mph, with one wind gust being recorded at 102 mph in rural Sonoma County.

2) High winds sparked rapid growth of the Kincade Fire, causing it to nearly double in size from Sunday morning to Sunday evening. The blaze has now scorched nearly 66,250 acres. The rapidly spreading wildfire forced the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people, the majority of them in Sonoma County. The wildfire has destroyed 94 structures and damaged another 17, and it is being fought by 76 crews with the help of helicopters, air tankers, and bulldozers. A total of 3,441 personnel have been assigned to the fire.

3) Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, along with parts of Tennessee, were hit with strong winds of 40 to 70 mph on Saturday from remnants of Tropical Storm Olga. The strong winds downed trees and knocked over power lines, cutting power to residents across the region. High winds reportedly caused a tree to fall on the home of the mayor of Tupelo, injuring and trapping him for 1.5 hours. The strong winds also caused two power outages that delayed flights at the airport in New Orleans, Louisiana, and spawned at least one tornado that touched down in Mobile, Alabama.

4) Straight-line winds in Tennessee caused at least seven semi-trucks to overturn on a bridge along I-40 west of Nashville. The interstate was closed in both directions for the majority of the afternoon and into the evening, as crews worked to clear the roadway. The incident occurred on a bridge over the Tennessee River that connects Humphrey's and Benton counties. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), several other trucks overturned in Decatur and Henderson counties.

5) Red flag warnings were in effect for many counties in both Northern and Southern California from Sunday into early Monday, with a brief respite from the high winds later on Monday. Critical fire weather, along with forecast high winds, will increase the wildfire threat again beginning on Tuesday. Some areas are forecast to have wind gusts from 50 to 70 mph and relative humidity dropping into the single digits. The National Weather Service (NWS) noted that if fire ignition occurs, the high winds will make conditions favorable for extreme fire behavior and rapid spread.

6) Two people are dead and another 14 were injured in Texas at a homecoming party near the Texas A&M campus on Saturday evening. Authorities noted that there were at least 750 people in attendance at the party, and amid the chaos during the shooting, the gunman was able to flee the scene. It is unclear what prompted the shooting, but local authorities believe the shooter was not an attendee and entered the Party Venue in Greenville by the back door.

7) As winds whipped through Northern California over the weekend, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) initiated Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) to 940,000 homes, or an estimated 2.5 million people, in order to prevent additional wildfires. This is the third consecutive blackout initiated by the company, whose equipment was found to have sparked the deadly Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018. PG&E has reportedly already been warning another 500,000 homes and businesses of yet another PSPS blackout beginning on Tuesday as critical fire weather conditions exist and forecast winds will exponentially elevate the risk of wildfire.

8) Extreme rainfall led to flooding in many towns and villages in the South of France last week. A total of three people have died as a result of the flooding in France, including one British woman who was swept away by floodwaters outside her home. At least eight inches of rain fell across the region, and more than 1,800 rescues were performed by first responders called in to assist those trapped by floodwaters.

 

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.