Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Evacuations Lifted for Thomas Fire as Holiday Weekend Approaches

EDM Friday Briefing: Evacuations Lifted for Thomas Fire as Holiday Weekend Approaches

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 22, 2017: Majority of the evacuations for the Thomas Fire have been lifted in time for the holidays, a manhunt is underway in Fresno County for a shooting suspect randomly targeting vehicles, a seven-year-old boy is caught in the crossfire between police and a suspect, 2017 was a year of billion dollar disasters, scientists are forecasting 2018 as an above average Atlantic hurricane season, the coroner in Las Vegas announces the rulings on all 58 deaths from October's shooting massacre, Georgia Power gains approval to complete its nuclear power plant, and DHS has suspended its planned bioterrorism drill in Newkirk, Oklahoma.

  1. As the holiday weekend approaches, authorities lifted evacuation orders for almost everyone that had been impacted by the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in California. The fire forced about 100,000 people from their homes at its peak and to date, has consumed 425 square miles. However, firefighters now have the blaze 65 percent contained, and as of Thursday, only a remote wilderness valley was still under evacuation orders.
  2.  Authorities in Fresno County, California are conducting a manhunt for an individual that has been shooting at allegedly random vehicles since November 27. So far, the 10 vehicles fired upon have not killed anyone, but earlier this month, a woman was struck when her car was fired upon, however, the injuries were not life-threatening. The suspect's vehicle has been described as a dark-colored pickup truck with oversized tires, but authorities are unsure if more than one person is involved in the shooting.
  3.  A seven-year old boy was killed Thursday afternoon in Scherz, Texas when he got caught in the crossfire between police and a female suspect. The female suspect had allegedly stolen a vehicle and brandished a weapon at an officer before she ran, then was eventually tracked by police to a mobile home park where she was attempting to break into one of the homes. The boy, who was inside the mobile home, was shot in the abdomen and later pronounced dead at the hospital.
  4. The year 2017 may be on record for having the most billion-dollar natural disasters, according to the research group, Climate Central. The U.S. so far has suffered 15 individual disasters that cost more than $1 billion in damages each, which ties it with 2011 for the most billion-dollar disasters. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the 15 disasters included one drought, one freeze, two floods, seven severe storms, three tropical cyclones, and one wildfire.
  5. Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) scientists allegedly have made a breakthrough in studying long-range impacts of global climate dynamics on the Atlantic Hurricane season, and provided a forecast in December for 2018. These scientists are already predicting an above-average hurricane season for 2018, with an 80 percent probability according to a total Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) score of 132. NOAA classifies anything with an ACE score of 111-152 as above-average, and anything over 152 as extremely active.
  6. The coroner in Las Vegas, Nevada has ruled all 58 of the deaths in the shooting massacre that occurred on October 1, at the country music festival as homicides. According to the coroner's report, all of the deaths were caused by gunshot wounds, with none of the victims having died from any injuries sustained while trying to escape the scene. The massacre was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history and the gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64, allegedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the mouth, considered to be a suicide.
  7. The Georgia Public Service Commission has approved the continued building of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, a nuclear power plant, in a 5-0 vote by officials on Thursday. The project has overrun its budget by more than $10 billion and is five years behind schedule. The two half-finished reactors have been plagued by mismanagement and delays, but the first of the two reactors is scheduled to start generating power by November of 2021.
  8. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it is suspending the bioterrorism training drills it had planned to conduct in Newkirk, Oklahoma in 2018. The bioterrorism drills were to take place at the now closed Chilocco Indian Agricultural School using DiPel, a biological insecticide commercially available since the 1970s. In announcing the cancellation of the drills, DHS cited concerns over the impact the drills would have on the grounds, which are considered sacred by Native American tribes because over 100 children are buried there.

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.