Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Rain Brings New Threats to Wildfire Ravaged Areas in California
EDM Monday Briefing: Rain Brings New Threats to Wildfire Ravaged Areas in California

EDM Monday Briefing: Rain Brings New Threats to Wildfire Ravaged Areas in California

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 19, 2018: The death toll rises to 77 in the deadly California Camp Fire, health officials cite serious infection control deficiencies as another child dies in deadly adenovirus outbreak in New Jersey, electrical infrastructure giant PG&E faces multiple lawsuits for recent deadly wildfires, India confirms at least 11 deaths from Cyclone Gaja, Guatemalan officials urge evacuations of communities near Volcano of Fire as eruptions intensify, a newly listed Superfund site sparks concern that Chattanooga area children are at risk of lead poisoning, government officials in Argentina announce the discovery of the ARA San Juan submarine nearly one year after it went missing, and forecasted rain brings new threats for areas recently impacted by the deadly wildfires in California.

  1. Officials culling through initial phone calls, emails, and reports to tally those who are missing and unaccounted for from the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise, California, have reduced the number--as of Sunday--to 993 people. Recovery officials are urging everyone to check the list, and if their name is on it, to please call in as soon as possible to report that they are safe. The official death toll has now risen to 77--four more bodies were found in Paradise, and one nearby in Concow--with 63 of the bodies tentatively identified until DNA evidence is returned.  
  2. Health officials in New Jersey are reporting that another child has died in an adenovirus outbreak that has gripped a pediatric facility in the state. The outbreak began in late September at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, and as of the latest fatality, a total of 11 children have died due to the outbreak. Health officials have taken enforcement action against the facility, citing serious infection control deficiencies, and have ordered a separation of sick and asymptomatic patients to be completed by November 21.
  3. As recovery from the Camp Fire continues in California, according to reports, many people are pointing the finger at electrical infrastructure giant, PG&E and its allegedly faulty equipment as starting the most deadly and destructive wildfire in California history. Reports indicate that PG&E may have had issues with its equipment just minutes before--and in the exact area--where the Camp Fire started. CalFire is still investigating what started the fire, but at least one lawsuit against the company has already been filed in the San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of victims of the wildfire.  
  4. Cyclone Gaja made landfall in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India, on Friday, killing at least 11 people as it downed power lines and uprooted trees before weakening as it moved further inland. Disaster management officials noted that 80,000 people in vulnerable locations had been evacuated to shelters ahead of the storm that made landfall in the early morning hours on Friday. The government set up at least 470 shelters and offered compensation in the amount of $14,000 to families who lost loved ones in the storm.  
  5. https://twitter.com/IFRCAsiaPacific/status/1063302703839764480

  6. Disaster officials in Guatemala have asked for the evacuation of at least 10 communities surrounding the Volcano of Fire due to its increased eruptions, and at least three communities were complying. Lava was seen at the summit just after midnight, sparking concerns for residents who had not yet evacuated. At 12,300 feet, the Volcano of Fire is the most active volcano in Central America, and officials fear another high death toll--similar to that in the 2018 June eruption that killed 194 people and left at least 234 missing--if residents refuse to evacuate.  
  7. Experts warn that children living near a newly listed Superfund site in Chattanooga, Tennessee, could be at risk of lead poisoning. The Superfund site was listed in September and encompasses what used to be The Chattanooga Foundry and Pipe Company, and the Wheland Foundry--where lead pipes, auto brakes, fire-hydrants, and cast-iron fittings were manufactured--which both shut down more than a decade ago, . The lead-laden soil from the site was often bought and used as top soil for homes in the area, prompting health officials to urge parents to have their children tested for lead poisoning.  
  8. Nearly one year after its disappearance--and almost to the day--the Argentine Naval submarine that went missing has been found. The ARA San Juan submarine was found by Ocean Infinity, an American company contracted by the Argentinian government, using a remote-controlled submersible--at 2,625 below the surface and off the coast of Argentina. The government did report that it currently lacks the technology to recover the vessel that was located off the Valdes Peninsula, nearby where it disappeared on November 15, 2017, while on the way back to its base at Mar del Plata.  
  9. As firefighters work to contain the deadly wildfires in California, new risks loom large beginning on Wednesday. Weather forecasts call for rain across wildfire ravaged areas, including the Woolsey and Camp Fire burn scars, which brings new threats, including mudslides and debris flows--along with flooding--to the already devastated areas. First responders and emergency management officials also see the rain as both a relief and threat, since the rain can help squelch the fires, but significantly hinder victim search and identification or wash away evidence of human remains.  

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.