Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Wildfires in the West, Enhanced Airline Safety Measures

EDM Friday Briefing: Wildfires in the West, Enhanced Airline Safety Measures

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 30, 2017: California fire fighters are now battling two more wildfires, a teenager in Pennsylvania was shot and killed during a road rage incident, Arizona officials lift some evacuation orders after the wildfire threat lessens, two San Antonio police officers are in critical condition following a shooting incident, two people are wounded when a patient open fires in a Las Vegas pain-management clinic, DHS announces enhanced security measures for airlines, an outbreak of Legionnaires disease is confirmed at the Guest House at Graceland, and severe weather threatens the south-central United States into the weekend.

  1. Multiple wildfires are burning in the west, including two new brush fires that began in California on Thursday, one in Calabasas and one in Malibu. The fire in Topanga Canyon spread rapidly, forcing road closures and threatening homes in Malibu as fire fighters initially struggled with access due to steep terrain. The fire in Calabasas reportedly began near Mulholland Drive and was spurred by moderate winds causing it to quickly scorch nearly 50 acres. Nearly 200 fire fighters worked to contain the blaze, which was 80 percent contained by nightfall. The fire is just a short distance away from the wildfire burning in the Topanga Canyon which was only 10 percent contained by late last evening. 
  2. An apparent road rage incident in Pennsylvania has led to the shooting death of an 18-year-old high school graduate, Bianca Nikol Roberson. The teenager was shot after attempting to merge into an adjoining lane at the same time as a red pickup truck. The driver of the pickup truck allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Roberson in the head, killing her instantly. Police continue searching for the driver of the red pickup truck who fled the scene
  3. Arizona is another state that has been hit hard by wildfires, including a fire that threatened a community near Prescott Valley and triggered the evacuation of thousands of residents. The Goodwin Fire began on June 24 and has already consumed nearly 25,000 acres as over 1,100 personnel and fire fighters still work to contain the blaze. Excessive temperatures, low humidity, and high winds have made it difficult to fight the fire, which is only 25 percent contained, although officials have lifted evacuation orders for some areas.
  4. Two San Antonio, Texas police officers are in critical condition following a patrol stop of two individuals on Thursday afternoon. As both officers exited their vehicle, one of the suspects immediately fired upon them, striking one officer in the head, and the other in the chin. The officers fired back and struck the suspect, who later died from his injuries.
  5. A patient at a Las Vegas, Nevada pain-management clinic shot and wounded two employees on Thursday after being denied a same day appointment. There were approximately a dozen people in the clinic when the man, who was a regular patient of the clinic, opened fire, striking a nurse who was treating a patient. As people fled, the man turned the gun on himself and died before police arrived at the scene. 
  6. The public is now bracing for new security measures after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Wednesday that it was implementing enhanced security measures regarding in-cabin laptops. The enhanced measures help prevent expanding the in-cabin ban on laptops, but some industry experts say greater collaboration with airlines would have provided more streamlined measures. The new measures, which are set to be in place in about three weeks, are expected to increase screening times, impacting about 325,000 passengers across 180 airlines and 2,000 flights arriving from 280 airports in 105 countries.
  7. An outbreak of Legionnaires disease at the Guest House in Graceland has been confirmed by the Shelby County Health Department. At least three people have been confirmed as having Legionnaires disease and county health officials are working closely with Tennessee State health officials on the current investigation. An announcement was made that the hotel had closed the aquatic facilities temporarily to prevent further exposure and facilitate the ongoing investigation. Legionnaires, which is caused by the Legionella bacteria, is a disease that has symptoms similar to pneumonia and is contracted by breathing in the mist or vapor of the contaminated water. 
  8. The threat of severe weather continues into the weekend, especially for locations in the south-central United States. A line of severe weather resulting from heat and humidity clashing with a slow-moving cold front has led to heavy rainfall as the system moves toward the south and east. Locations along the western Red River Valley in Texas up through southern Illinois face an increased risk of severe thunderstorms beginning Friday evening that could bring heavy rains, large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, and isolated tornadoes. 
  9. A steadily increasing barrage of criticism over the failing subway system in New York City, including unreliable trains, disruptions, malfunctions, poor communication, and recent accidents, has prompted the state's governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, to declare a state of emergency for the city's subway system. He also pledged $1 billion in funding for improvements so the troubled Metropolitan Transportation Authority can purchase equipment desperately needed for the system. The announcement follows on the heals of an accident Tuesday where a train derailed near a station in Harlem, injuring dozens.

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.