EDM Friday Briefing: Wildfire Shuts I-95 in Both Directions Ahead of Holiday Weekend
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 24, 2019: Three of the Missouri tornadoes Wednesday night were preliminarily rated as EF-3s and an EF-0 by the NWS; another recall has been issued for over 62,000 pounds of raw beef products for possible E. coli contamination; I-95 remained closed in both directions Friday morning due to a wildfire near Jacksonville, Florida; the town of High Level is being threatened by the Chuckegg Creek Fire burning in Northern Alberta, Canada; the UN has created a new position to help contain the Ebola outbreak in the DRC; U.S. regulators are looking at a possible late June approval for flight of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft; opposition fighters were reportedly attacked with chemical weapons by government forces in northwest Syria; and firefighters battle a major wildfire burning in Israel amid record heat.
1) A wildfire near Jacksonville, Florida, shut down Interstate 95 in both directions, beginning on Thursday afternoon and snarling traffic as the holiday weekend was about to begin. I-95 remained closed just north of Jacksonville on Friday morning, as the 450-acre Yellow Bluff Fire was only 30 percent contained. Travelers were being rerouted or asked to avoid the area due to ongoing firefighting efforts and heavy smoke. A total of 26 wildfires were burning across Florida as of Friday morning, but only five of the fires were not contained.
The SOUTHBOUND LANES of I-95 are open. Please continue to use caution as you travel in this area. The roadway is subject to being closed again if conditions worsen. @fl511_northeast @FHPJacksonville pic.twitter.com/FCKqYXSseG
— FDOT District 2 (@MyFDOT_NEFL) May 24, 2019
2) The Aurora Packing Company issued a recall for approximately 62,112 pounds of raw beef products due to possible contamination of E. coli. The recall includes beef ribs, chuck, ribeye, brisket, neck bones and various other products that were packed on April 19, 2019 and shipped nationwide for further distribution and processing. The recall was a result of random testing and comes just one month after 156 people across 10 states were reported infected with E. coli by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
— Mt Vernon Grapevine (@MTVGrapevine) May 23, 2019
3) Three people are dead after a tornado outbreak in Missouri on Wednesday night, including one that caused widespread damage in the capital, Jefferson City. On Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service gave the Jefferson City tornado -- which cut a path about a mile wide and was on the ground for at least 20 miles -- a preliminary EF-3 rating with winds of up to 160 mph. Other tornadoes touched down in Golden City and Carl Junction, which were also rated an EF-3 with winds of 120 mph, while a tornado that swept through Oronogo was rated an EF-0.
There are erroneous reports that 100 people are hospitalized in Jefferson City due to the tornado. The State Emergency Operations Center has confirmed nine patients at Jefferson City hospitals due to storm-related injuries. #MoWx #jeffersoncity #JeffersonCityMo
— MO Public Safety (@MoPublicSafety) May 23, 2019
4) The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire continues to burn in Northern Alberta, Canada, threatening the town of High Level. The town's nearly 5,000 residents were under a mandatory evacuation order as the blaze rapidly advanced. Officials stated that while current weather has assisted firefighters in protecting the town, weekend weather will deteriorate, with winds shifting toward the town. The fire has burned at least 227,000 acres, and firefighters assigned to fight the fire are receiving air support from helicopters and air tankers for fire suppression efforts.
1/x The Chuckegg Creek wildfire (HWF-042) is burning out of control in the High Level Forest Area, to the southwest and west of the town of High Level. The wildfire has been very active today and has crossed Highway 58 approximately 20 kilometres west of the town. pic.twitter.com/cDRx0Xoh4R
— Alberta Wildfire (@AlbertaWildfire) May 19, 2019
5) The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has now killed more than 1,240 people. Efforts to contain the outbreak, which began 10 months ago, has been hampered by attacks on treatment centers by armed groups, but distrust among local residents -- who see the disease as a conspiracy -- has also been a factor in the outbreak. In an effort to boost containment, the United Nations has created a new position -- an Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator -- to assist with security threats to workers and to engage in political negotiations to gain access to threatened communities.
The @UN named an Emergency #Ebola Response Coordinator -- a new position -- to boost efforts to contain a 10-month epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has killed more than 1,200 people. https://t.co/S4PUkhA3Md
— Duke Global Health (@DukeGHI) May 23, 2019
6) U.S. regulators are reportedly looking at a possible late June approval of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for flight again after its recent grounding. The popular jets were grounded worldwide after two airplane crashes occurred on different carriers in less than six months for similar type issues. The two crashes killed a combined total of 346 people and China -- who is seeking compensation from Boeing -- was the first country to ground the aircraft type. Canada and Europe have determined that they will allow the aircraft back into service on their own terms, not those defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or other agencies.
US regulators have told the UN aviation agency that Boeing 737 Max 8 jets could be ready for lift off in the US as early as June pic.twitter.com/vnOnFLuK2u
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) May 24, 2019
7) The United States has received information that indicates government forces in northwest Syria may have used chemical weapons in a recent attack. Reports suggest that although the government denies using chemical weapons, an alleged chlorine attack was likely launched against opposition fighters on Sunday. Local hospitals reportedly received a number of opposition fighters with symptoms consistent with chemical exposure.
#BREAKING State Department: The United States has received numerous reports that appear consistent with chemical exposure after an attack by Syrian government forces in northwest Syria.https://t.co/tvUASM9OsP
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) May 23, 2019
8) Firefighters in Israel were battling a raging wildfire on Thursday that scorched forests in the central part of the country amid a major heatwave affecting the nation. Temperatures soared to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit in Jerusalem, and firefighters fought back the fierce blaze burning between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which prompted the evacuation of 3,500 residents in small towns. Local reports indicate that the wildfire has destroyed at least a dozen homes, and firefighters were being assisted by airplane tankers to help bring the blaze under control.
Netanyahu calls for international help as huge fires force evacuation of 3,500 https://t.co/xnPWOQW8mu
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) May 23, 2019