EDM Wednesday Briefing: California's Heat Wave and Santa Ana Winds Spark Wildfires
Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 25, 2017: A West Coast heat wave prompts red flag warnings, Santa Ana winds spark fires amid the heat wave in Southern California, the FAA is investigating another incident involving Air Canada at San Francisco's International Airport, an altercation turns deadly in a shooting at Grambling State University, a small company in Montana is awarded a major contract to restore infrastructure in Puerto Rico, and the Mann Packing recall has expanded to include more foods and stores in the United States.
- An autumn heat wave descended on the West Coast beginning Monday, sending temperatures soaring into the 100s across Southern California. New high temperature records were set on Monday including in Riverside (102), Santa Ana (102), and El Cajon (104) and Tuesday in Los Angeles (104). The high temperatures, accompanied by gusty Santa Ana winds, prompted the National Weather Service to issue red flag warnings throughout the region due to critical wildfire risks through Wednesday.
- Extremely high temperatures along with hot and dry Santa Ana winds made for a difficult day of fire fighting in Southern California on Tuesday. Several blazes erupted across the Los Angeles area due to the heat and gusty winds, including a fire that quickly consumed at least 150 acres north of Casitas Springs and was dubbed the Vista Fire. Nearly 200 firefighters were battling the blaze with the support of air tankers and helicopters that were dropping water. At least one firefighter has been injured while fighting the fire.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating another Air Canada incident that occurred at the San Francisco International Airport on Sunday. Reports indicate that after Air Canada Flight 781 was cleared to land, the control tower attempted to contact the aircraft at least six times with orders to "go around," due to concerns that another plane would not clear the runway in time, but the calls went unanswered by the pilots. This is the second time in just three months that an Air Canada flight has been involved in an incident at SFO.
- Two people are dead following a shooting just after midnight on the campus of Grambling State University in Northern Louisiana. Authorities say that the altercation likely began inside a dorm room, and spilled over into the courtyard where the gunman shot a student and a visitor before fleeing the scene. The Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Department, who has taken over the investigation, states that the gunman is still at large.
- Much of Puerto Rico remains without power following Hurricane Maria's impact to the island, but a new contract awarded to a small Montana firm is helping restore infrastructure that will help power key industrial facilities. The $300 million contract was signed last week between Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct electrical infrastructure. Some officials are questioning the contract when mutual aid agreements were already in existence to help the island more rapidly restore its electrical infrastructure.
- The recall of packaged vegetables by Mann Packing was expanded late Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and included recalls by several major food stores across the United States. The recall is based on a random test done last week in Canada for listeria that came back positive, prompting Mann to issue a double nation recall--Canada and the United States--of over 20 vegetable products. Stores that are now issuing recalls for various products include Whole Foods in California, Randalls, Tom Thumb, and Albertson's in Texas, and 235 Meijers in six states, including Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 24, 2017
This is terrible. Two students killed at Grambling: https://t.co/jscAZD0BDu
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) October 25, 2017
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) October 24, 2017