Home Emergency Management News EDM Briefing: Power Cut to California Residents Amid High Temperatures

EDM Briefing: Power Cut to California Residents Amid High Temperatures


Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 10, 2017: A blast and fire at a San Fernando Valley power station cut power to thousands of California residents amid sweltering temperatures, rapidly spreading wildfires force the evacuation of thousands in the western United States and Canada, Gov. Jerry Brown declares a state of emergency for Oroville, California over wildfire, the Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara traps children and camp counselors, a gender reveal party in Ohio turns deadly as two gunmen open fire, two Middle Eastern airlines lift laptop bans, two earthquakes strike Alaska, and officers in Greenville County, South Carolina seize illegal drugs--including gray death--during traffic stops.

    1. A blast and subsequent fire at a power station in California's San Fernando Valley on Saturday cut power to tens of thousands of people amid a heat wave that broke area records. The blast occurred at the the Northridge/Reseda station and initially cut power to 140,000 people as fire fighters worked to contain the fire, which shot flames at least 300 feet in the air. Crews at the LA Department of Water and Power worked through the night and into Sunday to repair equipment, including transformers, circuit breakers, and conductors in order to quickly restore power to the area.
    2. More than 11,000 residents have been forced to flee their homes as major wildfires consumed thousands of acres across California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada amid high temperatures and dry conditions. A total of about 14 wildfires are currently burning throughout California, and at least 5,000 fire fighters have been sent to battle the massive blazes. In British Columbia, an estimated 9,500 people have been evacuated due to at least 220 wildfires that are burning, 97 of which erupted on Sunday and quickly spread through the province's tinder-dry interior.

    1. One major wildfire near Oroville, California, has burned over 5,000 acres, damaged critical infrastructure, and destroyed at least 10 structures, while threatening another 250. At least 4,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to the advancing flames while another 7,400 residents have been told to prepare to evacuate depending on when and how fire spreads. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Butte County, where Oroville is located, due to the wildfire and in order to provide additional assistance to local emergency response and fire fighting efforts.
    2. In Santa Barbara County, California, a blaze dubbed the Whittier Fire, started Saturday and rapidly spread through the fuel-rich Santa Ynez Valley, briefly trapping nearly 90 children and about 50 counselors near Cachuma Lake at the Circle V Ranch. The fire has consumed at least 7,800 acres and the steep, rugged terrain is challenging fire fighting efforts in an area that has not burned for nearly 50 years. As of Sunday night, the fire was only five percent contained.

    1. A gender reveal party turned deadly near Cincinnati, Ohio as two gunmen opened fire on unsuspecting guests killing one and injuring at least eight others, three of whom were children aged eight, six, and two-years-old. The group was gathered in the living room to learn the gender of a pregnant woman's expected child when two gunmen entered the home and opened fire, shooting and killing Autumn Garrett, a 22-year-old believed to be from Indiana. Police are still searching for the individuals responsible for the shooting.
    2. Two Middle Eastern airlines have been added to the list of carriers that are now allowing laptops into the cabins on their US-bound flights. Kuwait Airlines and Royal Jordanian worked with US officials to strengthen and tighten security efforts on flights originating in Kuwait and Jordan that are bound for the United States. Four other carriers lifted their bans last week after meeting the appropriate US security requirements: Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.
    3. Two earthquakes hit Alaska on Sunday with the first quake, a magnitude 4.4, occurring at 8:32 p.m. local time and striking near the Cook Inlet region with shaking that was felt as far away as Anchorage. The earthquake struck at a depth of about 66 miles and its epicenter was located approximately 34 miles east of Pedro Bay. The second earthquake, a 3.2 magnitude, occurred at 10:02 p.m. local time about 64 miles northeast of Arctic Village, and had a shallow depth of 2.5 miles. No damages have been reported from either quake.

  1. Last week, South Carolina law enforcement officials seized numerous illegal narcotics including over 17 pounds of heroin and more than a pound of "gray death," a drug cocktail of carfentanil (a buffalo tranquilizer) and fentanyl. The mixture is extremely lethal, as it only takes 0.2 milligrams of the gray death drug to kill someone, and mere skin contact can be deadly. To protect first responders and law enforcement from accidental exposure, a laser scanner is used to test the drug. The seizures were a result of a new Greenville County interdiction team to stop the flow of illegal drugs, guns, stolen cars and traveling fugitives on its interstates.

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.