Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Debris Flow From Woolsey Fire Burn Scare
EDM Monday Briefing: Debris Flow From Woolsey Fire Burn Scare

EDM Monday Briefing: Debris Flow From Woolsey Fire Burn Scare

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 7, 2019: Portions of the Pacific Coast Highway in California are closed following a debris flow, a train carrying hazardous material derailed in Georgia; a luxury hotel in Hawaii was evacuated due to a swift moving brush fire; a New York firefighter fell to his death while trying to assist trapped motorists on a bridge, West Coast states warn the public about exposure after two unrelated measles cases are confirmed; rain provides residents in India a brief respite from thick, grey smog; a Hapag Lloyd containership crew is evacuated due to fire; and the Molucca Islands in Indonesia are struck with a 6.6 earthquake.

  1. A winter storm that brought heavy snow to the mountains in California, dropped heavy rainfall on areas ravaged by wildfires in November of 2017. Nearly an inch of rain fell in just one hour in the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday, which caused a debris flow in Malibu that trapped vehicles in mud and closed a 13 mile portion of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), possibly until Tuesday. Boulders, rocks, and trees covered portions of the road after areas of the Woolsey Fire burn scar gave way from the heavy rainfall.  
  2. A small town in Georgia was evacuated Sunday night after a freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed. Emergency management officials evacuated Bartow, a town about 150 miles to the east of Atlanta, and everyone within a 3-mile radius, after the Norfolk Souther freight train, which was carrying chlorine and hydrochloric acid, derailed, and began leaking chlorine, causing a chlorine plume. The incident occurred on the 14 year anniversary of the Graniteville, South Carolina train derailment that killed nine people and left 250 in need of treatment for chlorine exposure.  
  3. A fast moving brush fire forced the evacuation of a luxury vacation resort in Wailea, Hawaii on Sunday night. The fire, which jumped a highway, forced the evacuation of Hotel Wailea, just about two hours after the blaze began. Firefighters were able to gain control of the fire early Monday morning, but not before it got dangerously close to the resort, and likely caused the reported area power outages.  
  4. A firefighter in New York City died Sunday night while trying to rescue two people who were trapped in their vehicle. Officials announced that Steven H. Pollard, 30, died after he fell through a 3-foot-wide gap on the Belt Parkway’s Mill Basin drawbridge in Brooklyn while trying to reach the motorists in their vehicle which had flipped over. Pollard was on foot when he attempted to traverse the gap, which officials believe he may not have been aware of, and fell 52 feet to the ground below and died. 
  5. Two separate West Coast states have warned the public of their possible exposure to measles. Oregon and California health officials say that each state has at least one confirmed measles case. Health officials in Clark County, Washington stated that a child who traveled to the county in December from outside the country was confirmed to have the measles after visiting an urgent care clinic. In Oregon, public health officials noted that anyone in various locations in The Dalles and Hood River areas between December 29 and January 2, may have been exposed to the measles after officials confirmed a case of the measles in an individual on Friday.  
  6. Residents enveloped in thick, grey smog for the last two months in New Delhi, India, were given a brief respite on Sunday following an early rain spell. Air quality in the city has been very poor over the last two months, and although the rainfall and winds helped reduce the air pollution, on Sunday air quality levels still measured and unhealthy PM 182. That number is five times higher than what is considered safe by U.S. healthy air standards, which is a maximum of PM 35.  
  7. Crews had to be evacuated on Sunday from a German container ship off the shore of Canada’s east coast after the ship caught fire late last week. The entire crew–which was uninjured by the fire–was evacuated from the Yantian Express after crews were unable to extinguish the blaze, . A statement from the company, Hapag Lloyd, noted that bad weather conditions had hampered efforts to contain the fire, and the fire’s intensity had increased significantly at times.  
  8. Indonesia was struck by another 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Sunday, 108 miles to the north-northwest of the city of Ternate, in the Molucca Islands. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, two aftershocks–a 5.0 and a 5.1 magnitude–also struck in the same area, but no damages or injuries were reported from any of the quakes. The 6.6 quake struck at a depth of 37.5 miles, and officials said that there were no tsunami warnings issued.   

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.