Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Red Flag Warning in Northern California
EDM Monday Briefing: Red Flag Warning in Northern California

EDM Monday Briefing: Red Flag Warning in Northern California


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 23, 2019: A bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park killed four and injured 26 others; the DRC has announced plans to introduce another vaccine to combat the ongoing Ebola outbreak; suspected drone activity diverted two flights and disrupted arrivals at Dubai International Airport on Sunday; Bolivia wildfires rage as firefighters grow weary of the months-long fire fight; Tropical Storm Karen has formed in the Caribbean Sea and could impact Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Tuesday; the USGS recorded a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Albania port city of Durres on Saturday; the NWS has issued a red flag warning for much of Northern California through Wednesday; and Tropical Depression 13 has formed off the coast of West Africa and is forecast to become a hurricane possibly by Tuesday.

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1) Four people are dead after a tour bus crashed outside of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah on Friday. All of the other 26 passengers were transported to hospitals, with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. Five critically injured people were evacuated to hospitals by helicopter. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash, which may have been caused by the driver, who reportedly was multitasking.

2) As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to battle the second worst outbreak of Ebola, another vaccine is set to be introduced. Health authorities in the DRC stated that a second vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and requiring two doses administered eight weeks apart, will soon be introduced to compliment the current Merck vaccine. The Merck vaccine has been administered to over 225,000 people since August of 2018 and is given in a single dose.

3) Suspected drone activity caused the diversion of two flights from Dubai International Airport -- the world's busiest airport for international travelers -- in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday. The diverted flights, operated by Emirates Airlines, were arriving from Australia via Singapore and from India, when they had to be diverted about 15 miles north to Sharjah International Airport. Arrivals into the airport were also disrupted for about 15 minutes around midday due to the suspected drone activity.

4) Some of the worst wildfires in at least two decades are ravaging Bolivia, and firefighters are beginning to lose hope that the fires can be contained. The drought-stricken region near Concepcion has been burning for nearly two months; fires across the country have nearly doubled in size in just three weeks, scorching a total of nearly 6 million acres. Four firefighters have died, and intense heat and smoke on the front lines often prevents work but for a few minutes at a time. According to reports, firefighters are working with the bare minimum of equipment essentials, such as a water backpack and a machete. They also lack the necessary heavy equipment to cut fire lines that can help prevent the fire from spreading.

5) Tropical Storm Karen is churning in the Caribbean Sea and is expected to pass over or near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Tuesday. Karen has a minimum central pressure of 1007 mb or 29.74 inches of mercury. Forecasters expect some fluctuations of strength to occur over the next 48 hours due to strong upper-level winds. The storm is currently moving to the northwest at 8 mph with tropical storm force winds extending out about 105 miles and current sustained winds of 40 mph.

6) According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the Albanian port city of Durres on Saturday, sending residents out into the streets in panic. The quake, which also shook the Tirana region, was quickly followed by another strong tremor of a 5.3 magnitude. Although about 68 people suffered injuries, there were no reported deaths due to the quakes. Multiple homes, apartment buildings and other buildings reportedly suffered cracks and other damages from the tremor, which allegedly was the strongest quake to hit the area in nearly 30 years.

7) Warm temperatures, combined with lower humidity and forecast high winds, has produced critical fire weather in parts of Sacramento County, including the Sacramento Valley, into the Sierra Nevada Foothills and along the North Coast. A red flag warning is in effect for much of Northern California due to the area forecast that is in place for Monday and continues through Wednesday. A building high pressure is producing the dangerous fire weather conditions, including wind gusts of 40-50 mph in various regions.

8) A new system -- Tropical Depression 13 -- has formed off the coast of West Africa and could become a tropical storm later on Monday. The system is becoming better organized and is currently moving toward the west at about 15 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 1007 mb or 29.74 inches of mercury and sustained winds of 35 mph with higher gusts. The storm continues to strengthen and is forecast to likely become a hurricane by late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.


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.