Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Earthquake, Wildfires, Drought, Cybersecurity

EDM Monday Briefing: Earthquake, Wildfires, Drought, Cybersecurity

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 14, 2016

  1. Just after midnight on Sunday, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck New Zealand, causing a tsunami, and killing at least two people. Cities heaviest hit appear to be Kaikoura and Culverden. Officials warn that the death toll could rise as access to remote locations is currently limited by damaged roads and bridges, and debris slides. Strong aftershocks rocked the region throughout the night, with another 6.3 magnitude quake striking in the same region around 12:30 local time.
  2. One million cybersecurity positions went unfilled in 2015 across the globe. A recent study revealed a wide and persistent gap between the perception of cybersecurity preparedness and the true preparedness reality for majority of companies. What's more, as the IoE (Internet of Everything) continues to encompass more devices and platforms, greater attack surfaces must be protected. Millennials have taken notice and many of them are now considering entering the cybersecurity career field.
  3. On Thursday, the Obama Administration established a competitive bidding process for the development of renewable energy on federal lands in the West. The process is reminiscent of how the federal government awarded gas and oil leases and will help shorten the time it takes to get a permit. The new rule helps ensure priority is given to approximately 700,000 acres of public lands that, when developed, will have a smaller impact on wildlife habitats. 
  4. Multiple fires burning across the Cumberland and East Tennessee Districts triggered air quality alerts for the Chattanooga Valley and other portions of eastern Tennessee over the weekend. Currently, more than 53 fires are burning throughout the districts with a total of nearly 10,000 acres burned. Authorities allege that arson was the cause of several fires prompting the arrest of one suspect on November 11. Efforts to fight the various fires includes approximately 40 aircraft, including three tankers.
  5. Tennessee is not the only eastern state hard hit by wildfires due to drought conditions. Multiple fires are burning in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Mississippi and Alabama have also been hard hit by drought, but currently have no fires burning. Temperatures, high winds, low humidity, and drought conditions have contributed to the fires, but arson has also played a part in several fires in Kentucky and Tennessee. Eighteen fires in North Carolina's Nantahala National Forest were being fought by 560 fire personnel from across the country, while Georgia's Rough Ridge fire in the Cohutta Wilderness is being fought by nearly 300 individuals and is only about 15 percent contained.
  6. North Carolina declared a state of emergency for at least 25 western counties, while the entire state of Tennessee is under a state of emergency due to drought conditions and wildfires. Burning bans have been issued across several states, including Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Partial bans are in place in Mississippi and Louisiana. But little relief is in sight as the National Weather Service predicts drought conditions in most of these areas are likely to persist for the rest of the year
  7. Funds have been authorized by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency to help reimburse costs to Tennessee for the Flippers Bend Fire that is burning in Hamilton, County. The authorization ensures grant funding from FEMA will reimburse eligible costs up to 75 percent. Those costs can include labor, resources such as equipment, and supplies used while fighting the fire. The fire, which has been burning since November 5, has consumed more than 800 acres of state and private land, threatened numerous homes, and caused various evacuations.
  8. Federal agents are set to investigate a fire that occurred at the headquarters of an African-American business in Beaufort, SC over the weekend. The fire began Saturday at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce building, a location that has seen vandalism in the past. The investigation will be led by local law enforcement with the assistance of a team of ATF certified fire investigators from its National Response Team. Damages have been estimated at around $2 million.
  9. During a battle with a brush fire that erupted around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday near Gopher Canyon in California, one firefighter was injured. The Gopher Fire has engulfed more than 28 acres, but is approximately 50 percent contained. The fire began burning just off Interstate 15, resulting in lane closures in both directions earlier in the day that caused backups for miles. Most lanes were reopened by late afternoon. CalFire stated that the closure was prompted for safety reasons after fire damaged power poles that support power lines crossing the freeway.

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.