Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Government Websites Hacked, Wildfires in Utah

EDM Monday Briefing: Government Websites Hacked, Wildfires in Utah

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 26, 2017: Hacked Ohio and Maryland government websites reportedly displayed pro-ISIS propaganda, Hurricane Dora is the eastern Pacific's first 2017 storm, weather changes worry officials fighting Brian Head fire, an unruly passenger causes a Southwest flight to divert on Sunday afternoon, a car crash sparks a wildfire near Santa Clarita, California, a tourist boat capsizes in Colombia, an Oklahoma doctor is charged with second-degree murder in opioid related deaths, a landslide in China kills at least 25 and leaves 93 missing, two marines are hospitalized with severe burns after a fighter jet explosion, and severe storms are forecast for the north-central United States by late Tuesday.

  1. The website of Ohio Governor, John Kasich, along with numerous other state websites, were taken offline Sunday after they were found to be displaying what appeared to be pro-ISIS propaganda after allegedly being hacked. A line appeared on each hacked page that indicated the hack was perpetrated by Team System Dz, an organization that has claimed responsibility for a variety of pro-Islamic hacks over the past several years worldwide. The website of Howard County, Maryland, was also the victim of a hack on Sunday with visitors to the site being greeted with ISIS propaganda until the county was notified and the site was taken offline. 
  2. The first hurricane of the 2017 eastern Pacific season, Hurricane Dora, now churns off the coast of Mexico, approximately 170 miles south of Manzanillo. After intensifying to a hurricane on Monday, Dora is expected to move safely away from the Mexican coast, creating only minor impacts along the coastline. Forecasters indicate that Dora will rapidly weaken but high seas, rip currents, and heavy rainfall will still be threats from the storm.
  3. The spread of the Brian Head fire in Utah was limited by better weather conditions on Sunday that allowed the nearly 1,000 fire fighters battling the blaze to successfully secure particular areas of concern. The fire has already scorched more than 65 square miles, or 42,800 acres, and resulted in the evacuation of at least 1,500 people. Changes in weather conditions on Monday including increased winds, higher than normal temperatures, and low humidity, will hamper fire fighter efforts, potentially allowing the fire to spread another two to three miles. 
  4. A passenger onboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Houston on Sunday afternoon attempted to open the emergency exit door while the plane was airborne. Flight 4519 was diverted by the pilot to Corpus Christi International Airport while an off-duty police officer and another man helped subdue the woman. According to reports, the woman was agitated and pacing up and down the aisle before she gained access to the emergency exit door and ripped off a piece of the door frame.
  5. A car crash on the 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita on Sunday afternoon sparked a wildfire that spread quickly due to an abundance of dry brush and area winds. The wildfire forced closure of the highway in both directions and destroyed at least one structure as it consumed more than 870 acres. Over 400 fire fighters, four helicopter crews, and two air tankers fought the blaze on Sunday, which was 50 percent contained by Sunday night. One fire fighter is in the hospital after being injured in the blaze. 
  6. A Colombian tour boat carrying approximately 160 passengers on a reservoir near Medellin capsized on Sunday, causing the deaths of six people. Nearby recreational vehicles helped rescue victims while fire fighters and military personnel also searched for survivors, but Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reported that another 31 people were still missing. It is unclear as to what actually caused the tourist boat to capsize and efforts to find the missing individuals were suspended overnight Sunday due to thunderstorms.
  7. In Oklahoma on Friday, a doctor at the Midwest City clinic who wrote opioid prescriptions for drug addicts was charged with second-degree murder in relation to the overdose deaths of at least five patients. Regan Nichols is accused of writing what state investigator's call the "holy trinity" of pills, a powerful combination of painkillers and other drugs, including anti-anxiety pills, for addicts. The charges against Nichols and several other doctors comes from the country trying to crack down on the opioid epidemic that, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has resulted in a quadrupling of overdoses since 2000.
  8. Early Saturday in China, a massive landslide in the Sichuan province slammed into the village of Xinmo, killing 25 and leaving 93 people missing, while burying at least 40 homes and one hotel. Huge rocks and thick mud hampered search and rescue efforts, and villagers are beginning to mourn those they fear are dead after nearly three days have passed since the landslide. Heavy area rains over several days appears to have contributed to the landslide which also blocked roadways and portions of a river. 
  9. A fighter jet explosion at a the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, near San Diego, sent two marines who were working on the plane to the hospital with severe burns late Sunday evening. The explosion occurred around 10:00 p.m. as the individuals were performing routine maintenance on an F-18 aircraft. The two marines, who have yet to be identified, were from the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, a reserve unit based out of Fort Worth, Texas. 
  10. The mild weekend temperatures across much of the north-central United States will quickly be replaced by hot, steamy air and a significant uptick in severe weather by the middle of the week. Forecasters indicate that as the high pressure responsible for the unseasonably cool weekend temperatures moves eastward, the door opens for warm, moist air to move northward from the Gulf and points south. Severe storms are on tap for portions of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa by late Tuesday and early Wednesday with the possibilities of damaging winds, hail, and flash flooding.

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.