Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 25, 2019: The Kincade Fire exploded in Sonoma County, scorching more than 16,000 acres and prompting evacuations; the Old Water Fire that broke out in San Bernardino is now under control; pilots on a Thai Airways flight had to abort takeoff after the left engine exploded; power shutoffs impacted nearly 200,000 in California and residents are bracing for additional shutoffs amid dangerous fire weather forecasts; Arkansas is enhancing its Smart911 system to better assist with access and functional needs of residents in an emergency; Red flag warnings remain in effect for much of California and a Fire Weather Watch was also issued by the NWS for this weekend; Friday is the final day of Vermont's CAT 4 disaster exercise meant to test critical infrastructure restoration; and efforts by workers and engineers to secure the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel are being hampered by heavy rainfall from a tropical system.
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1) A fast-moving wildfire exploded on Wednesday night and into Thursday in Northern California, consuming more than 10,000 acres by early Thursday morning. The Kincade Fire began in a remote, mountainous area of Sonoma County and was quickly fueled by intense winds, which prompted evacuations in and around Geyersville. The evacuations have been expanded as the fire continued to spread rapidly amid high wind gusts. The blaze had scorched 16,000 acres as of Thursday evening, with only 5 percent containment.
#BREAKING: PG&E tells regulators a broken jumper cable on a transmission tower may have been to blame for the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, confirming that it had not yet turned off power to its highest voltage equipment when the blaze sparked. https://t.co/Cs3qWw962Y
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) October 24, 2019
2) The Old Water Fire broke out early Thursday morning in north San Bernardino, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles, prompting the evacuation of about 80 homes in the area. The wildfire began at around 2:00 a.m. and quickly expanded to at least 100 acres. Fire crews, with the assistance of water-dropping helicopters, were able to bring the fire under control as winds died down across the area. By late Thursday, evacuation orders were lifted, and Highway 18 was reopened.
Old Water Fire update: Officials announced both Highway 18 and 40th Street in San Bernardino have reopened to traffic. Mandatory evacuations are expected to be lifted at 8 p.m. https://t.co/Cm14q0uyro
— The Desert Sun (@MyDesert) October 25, 2019
3) A Thai Airways flight had to abort its takeoff on Saturday after its engine exploded when pilots powered up the aircraft to depart. Flight TG970 was on the runway preparing to depart Bangkok for Zurich, when the left engine of the Boeing 777 had an uncontained failure and passengers heard a loud bang. The pilots were able to quickly abort the takeoff and move the aircraft safely from the runway. Although extensive damage was done to the engine, there were no injuries resulting from the incident.
NEWS: The FAA has issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive for the General Electric GE90-115B engine, following an uncontained engine failure of a Thai Airways 777-300ER
The EAD instructs operators of GE90-powered 777s to make critical tweaks to the engine’s assembly
— Toby’s Aviation (@TobysAviation) October 25, 2019
4) A Santa Ana wind event is prompting power shutoffs in Southern California by SoCal Edison. By late Thursday night, a total of more than 28,890 SoCal Edison customers across six counties were without power. Power shutoffs were also initiated by PG&E on Wednesday and into Thursday, leaving at least 179,000 customers in the dark. By Thursday night, power had been restored to about 93 percent of those affected, but residents across 33 counties may face power shutoffs again as extreme winds are forecast over the weekend.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 24, 2019
5) Arkansas, the first state to launch Smart911, is enhancing its Smart911 service to residents across the state to help ensure access and to meet functional needs during emergency situations. Smart911 allows residents to sign up and then provide detailed information about their family and needs, including access needs, pets, medical conditions, special needs, emergency contacts, and other pertinent information. The Safety Profiles display to the 9-1-1 operator when a call is made, allowing the 911 operator to dispatch the right first responders to the right location with the right information. The information will also assist emergency managers when preparing for or responding to disasters or other emergencies, including evacuations, power outages, transportation, and shelter needs.
Residents across all 75 Arkansas counties will now be able to create their own safety profiles and opt-in for emergency alerts and information sharing with 9-1-1 and emergency responders. https://t.co/HRwLrPXten
— KSHV 45 (@KSHV45) October 25, 2019
6) Red flag warnings are in effect throughout much of California until 10:00 p.m. Friday evening due to high winds and critical fire weather conditions. The National Weather Service (NWS) has also issued a Fire Weather Watch beginning Saturday and ending Monday morning for multiple areas in California. The alert is being issued as extreme winds from the northeast are expected throughout the Bay Area, from north of Santa Rosa to the south of San Jose.
FIRE WEATHER WATCH Sat night through Mon morning.
This event looks to be the strongest of this year and
since the 2017 wine country fires. Strong NE winds will slowly ease later Sun and persist right through Mon morning. This will be a long duration and extreme wind event. #cawx pic.twitter.com/UzK2HPou1N
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) October 24, 2019
7) Friday marks the final day of Vermont's fourth Catastrophic Exercise (CAT 4) designed and held to test disaster response skills among personnel across multiple agencies. The CAT 4 exercise was held from October 23-25 and involved nearly 500 emergency responders, along with officials from local, state, and partner agencies. The exercise involved 19 cities and towns. It simulated a statewide catastrophic disaster that tested the ability to restore critical infrastructure from a major storm on the scale of Tropical Storm Irene.
Vermont’s Catastrophic exercise has begun, 500 people in 19 towns and 20 agencies. pic.twitter.com/2RdDPMWdwy
— VT Emergency Mgmt (@vemvt) October 23, 2019
8) Wet weather is likely to negatively impact the efforts of workers and engineers at the site of the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans. A tropical system -- Invest 97L -- in the Gulf of Mexico is set to unleash heavy rains in the central Gulf states Friday into late Saturday, possibly causing chunks of the compromised building to loosen and fall. The bodies of two workers killed during the collapse have yet to be recovered due to the dangerous conditions of the partially collapsed building and the crane that still teeters above it all.
New Orleans Homeland Security Director Colin Arnold will be giving reporters a briefing in front of the collapse site of the partially built Hard Rock Hotel. Officials are preparing for bad weather here over the next two days. @WWLTV pic.twitter.com/W4sClwNi3r
— Paul Murphy (@PMurphyWWL) October 24, 2019