Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Arizona Is Under Red Flag Warning and Air Quality Alert
EDM Monday Briefing: Arizona Is Under Red Flag Warning and Air Quality Alert

EDM Monday Briefing: Arizona Is Under Red Flag Warning and Air Quality Alert


Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 29, 2020: Most of the state of Arizona is under a Red Flag Warning due to severe fire weather conditions; Utah is due to receive federal aid from FEMA after multiple devastating wildfires broke out on Saturday; Washington State emergency management officials announce delayed rollout of the ShakeAlert warning system; Pima County residents were ordered to evacuate as the Bighorn Fire threatened neighborhoods in Arizona; two lightning-sparked fires merged into the Rock Path Fire that has scorched more than 20,000 acres in Utah; Russia denies any of its nuclear power plants are responsible for the higher-than-normal radioactive isotopes detected by a Swedish monitoring station; and nearly 60,000 pounds of chicken nuggets have been recalled for alleged flexible rubber contamination.

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1) No rain relief is in sight for the Southwest states, as low humidity and dry conditions permeate them and prompt widespread Red Flag Warnings. Expected winds of 30-40 mph have placed nearly all of Arizona under a Red Flag Warning through Monday evening along with an Air Quality Alert, due to the numerous wildfires already burning throughout the state. Large parts of New Mexico are also under a Red Flag Warning due to strong winds and critical fire weather conditions, including all of North and Central New Mexico.


2) Multiple wildfires broke out in Utah on Saturday, including the Knoll Fire in Saratoga Springs, which prompted mandatory evacuation orders. At least 3,100 homes were threatened by the blaze that quickly scorched 2,000 acres. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the use of federal funds to help fight the Knoll and Canal Fires, the latter of which broke through containment amid high winds and threatened nearby homes on Sunday.

3) Emergency management officials in Washington State stated that COVID-19 has delayed the rollout of the new earthquake early alert warning system. The ShakeAlert Early Earthquake Warning System was set to be deployed by October of 2020, but has been delayed at least until 2021 due to the pandemic. The system is meant to send a warning to people via their mobile phone or computers that can provide up to a few seconds or more of warning prior to the start of the shaking from an earthquake.


4) Pima County officials have asked Arizona residents in southern Catalina near the Bighorn Fire to be prepared to evacuate. In some cases, they have been given the GO! evacuation order. Ready, Set, GO! is used to help residents know in what stage their location/neighborhood is for evacuation preparedness. "Ready" indicates residents should prepare and gather items as it is possible they will need to evacuate. Once a wildfire is nearing a community, the location is moved to "Set," and residents should monitor fire activity and local emergency management official's announcements for the GO! evacuation order.

5) Lightning-sparked fires that began Friday afternoon in Utah merged into one large wildfire by Saturday. The wildfire, known as the Rock Path Fire, has scorched more than 20,100 acres and was 25 percent contained as of Saturday evening. The blaze is just one of several wildfires burning in the state, some of which have destroyed homes, including the Poeville Fire, north of Reno.

6) Higher than normal radioactive isotopes were found in the air on June 22-23 over a monitoring station in Stockholm, Sweden. Nuclear watchdogs in Finland, Norway, and Sweden said they detected higher-than-usual levels of Cs-134, Cs-137, and Ru-103, indicating possible fuel element damage at a nuclear power plant. The region from which the levels likely originated centered over western Russia, but Russia has denied there have been any issues with any of its nuclear power plants in that area.

7) The Mahogany Fire began as a 10-acre brush fire on Sunday. It quickly accelerated into a wind-whipped wildfire that swept through Mount Charleston outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The blaze scorched at least 5,000 acres as high winds and gusts of up to 40 mph, along with a lack of resources including air support, meant conditions were unsafe for firefighters on Sunday. The cause of the wildfire is currently unknown. Fire officials expected improved conditions on Monday, including diminished winds, which will allow the use of air support.

8) Pilgrim's Pride Corporation of Waco, Texas, is recalling nearly 60,000 pounds of chicken nuggets due to possible foreign matter contamination. The recall applies to the company's four-pound bags of fully cooked chicken breast nugget products, with a best-by date of May 6, 2021. The product was distributed to locations in four states — Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and Texas — and is being recalled due to complaints that the nuggets contain a flexible rubber material.


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.