EDM Monday Briefing: Fort McMurray Wildfire, USFA Toolkit, April Natural Disasters, Tremors at Mount St. Helens
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 9, 2016: Officials now say that the Fort McMurray wildfire could burn on for months, the USFA releases the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) toolkit, a report details the billions in damages caused by disasters around the globe in April, and scientists detect more than 100 small quakes under Mount St. Helens.
- Fire officials said this weekend that the Fort McMurray wildfire could continue burning for months. The massive blaze is still spreading in and around Alberta, Canada, and the area is in dire need of rain to help control it. A cold front is expected to move into the area early this week with high winds but not much help with precipitation as the fires now creep toward Saskatchewan.
- The U.S. Fire Administration recently released its Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) toolkit to help fire departments around the country prepare for and respond to wildland fires. The toolkit offers more than 20 courses covering a variety of WUI topics that include fire fighting tactics, wildland fire behavior, and incident command.
- A recent report detailed how April natural disasters in the U.S., Ecuador, Japan, Uruguay, China, Myanmar, and other regions across the globe brought billions and billions in damages. Earthquakes, severe storms, agricultural losses, flooding and other natural disasters combined to make last month the most costly April in five years.
- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists reported that more than 100 small earthquakes have shaken beneath Mount St. Helens in Washington state since mid-March. Magma stores are reportedly recharging inside Mount St. Helens, which is setting off a swarm of small earthquakes. The earthquakes have low magnitudes, with the smallest recording at approximately 0.5 and the largest at about 1.3.
- A U.S. District Court ruling in early May called attention to the impact that hydroelectric operations on the Columbia Basin in the Pacific Northwest are having on fish populations, including salmon and steelhead. Fish populations have continued to decline in the region for much of the past 20 years. According to the judge ruling on the case, previous attempts to alter practices and restore habitat have failed and cost billions of dollars in the process.
- Federal health officials said a cruise ship docked in Portland, ME is under surveillance for norovirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 252 of the 919 passengers and eight crew members have fallen ill on the ship. The vessel is operated by Fred Olsen Cruises.
- Sempra Energy, which owns Southern California Gas Co. of Porter Ranch gas leak fame, recently raised its estimate for the cost of the historic natural gas leak to $665 million. The company originally estimated costs from the leak at approximately $330 million, but have since doubled those estimates. Sempra reportedly has insurance coverage in excess of $1 billion to cover expenses related to the leak.
- Chinese officials report 22 dead and at least 17 missing after a landslide struck at a hydroelectric power station under construction in the country's southeastern Fujian province. The landslide, which was reportedly triggered by heavy rain, comes just months after a December 2015 landslide in the southern city of Shenzhen buried at least 77 people.
- Severe storms and tornadoes hit eastern Colorado this weekend, and more storms are expected in the region through the end of today. There were reports of as many as 15 tornadoes in the state this weekend, resulting in reports of injuries and property damage but no fatalities.
- Weather experts are forecasting severe storms to strike the central U.S. early this week. The same system that triggered tornadoes and extreme weather in Colorado on this weekend is expected to progress eastward early this week. Kansas City is first in line to receive the severe storms.