Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: CA Fires, Church Attack in France, India Flooding, Solar Powered Flight, Failing Infrastructure

EDM Wednesday Briefing: CA Fires, Church Attack in France, India Flooding, Solar Powered Flight, Failing Infrastructure


Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 27, 2016: California wildfires prompt an emergency declaration, officials rescue a group of hikers, ISIS claims responsibility for an attack in France, the solar-powered Impulse 2 lands in Abu Dhabi, a boat sinks in the Bering Sea, heavy monsoon rains cause massive flooding in India, General Mills expands its recall, and America needs investment in failing infrastructure.

  1. A state of emergency has been declared by acting California Gov. Tom Torlakson for the two wildfires currently burning in the state. The Sand Fire is burning in Los Angeles County, while the Soberanes Fire is located in Monterey County near Big Sur. The declaration frees state resources and money to quickly help affected communities.
  2. The Sand Fire, located in Los Angeles County, has burned more than 37,500 acres, destroyed 18 homes, and resulted in the death of one person. Nearly 20,000 people had to be evacuated, some have been allowed to return home, but other evacuations are being ordered. The fire was about 25 percent contained as of Tuesday evening with 2,982 people involved in fighting the blaze. Shelters have been set up for evacuees.
  3. The Soberanes Fire, located in Monterey County, north of Big Sur, has scorched 23,500 acres, destroyed 20 homes, and is threatening 1,650 other structures. Access to the fire is challenging, and firefighters are using air and ground resources to fight the fire, which is only 10 percent contained. Evacuations are ongoing and an evacuation center has been set up in Carmel-By-The-Sea.
  4. Eight hikers were rescued on Tuesday from inside the Soberanes Fire line after surviving for several days with little water or food. The hikers, who were all men, became lost five days earlier and had no idea where to go to remain safe after the fire began over the weekend. Air attack initially located them, then sent bulldozer crews in, along with search and rescue teams and the Monterey County Sheriff's Department, to rescue and evacuate the men.
  5. An attack by two young men at a church in Northern France on Tuesday is being labeled as terrorism. The attackers slit the throat of a priest and took hostages, including a nun. One of the attackers, Adel Kermiche - recently released from prison and wearing a monitoring bracelet - was on the nation's terror watch list after being radicalized. Police killed the attackers a short time later when they emerged from the church. ISIS is claiming responsibility for the attack.
  6. The world's first solar power aircraft, Impulse 2, landed at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates after completing a 25,000 mile trip that started more than a year ago. The solar powered aircraft never used a drop of fuel, in the air or on the ground during its 16 stops, to demonstrate the use of clean energy technologies and their benefits in halving energy consumption around the globe. The plane has a 236 foot wingspan, 17,248 solar cells that powered four electric motors with propellers, and runs on four lithium polymer batteries during the night.
  7. The United States Coast Guard was alerted to a boat sinking off the coast of Alaska's Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea on Tuesday night. Two Good Samaritan vessels responded to the Coast Guard's emergency broadcast and rescued the 46 people who had abandoned the vessel after donning survival suits and getting into three life rafts. There was no wind and the seas were calm, but heavy fog blanketed the area as the Coast Guard monitored the rescue operation. 
  8. Heavy monsoon rains in India have caused severe flooding and displaced 1.2 million people and killed seven. According to reports, thousands of people had to be rescued by army soldiers, and many were stranded on their rooftops in the state of Assam, which has eighteen districts. The flooding occurred after heavy rains caused the Brahmaputra to breach its banks, which washed away roads and toppled power pylons.
  9. The recall on General Mills flour due to E. coli has been expanded. The latest expansion on July 25 took place to include more production dates, and involves more than a dozen different types of flour under the brand names of Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour. At least 13 people have been hospitalized, although no deaths have occurred.
  10. A recent report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) looks at how a failure to address critical infrastructure repair, replacement, or development across the country will negatively impact the United State’s economic future. The report cautions that the current gap in infrastructure investment will have even greater negative economic impacts as the nation’s population burgeons to an estimated 380 million by 2040. Currently, the ASCE estimates that $3.6 trillion dollars is needed to address the nation’s failing infrastructure by 2020.

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.