Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: California Fires, Louisiana Flooding, Milwaukee Protests, Sea Level Rise

EDM Wednesday Briefing: California Fires, Louisiana Flooding, Milwaukee Protests, Sea Level Rise


Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 17, 2016: California declares a state of emergency due to the Blue Cut Fire, Baton Rouge, LA residents find refuge from flooding in shelters and a federal disaster declaration extends to 20 counties, a man is arrested in connection with the Clayton Fire that burned the town of Lower Lake, CA, Milwaukee establishes a curfew, Bradley County, TN is set for a radio upgrade, a Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant drill is scheduled for Wednesday, and Zika's impact increases in Haiti.

  1. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as a result of the rapidly moving Blue Cut Fire that caused the mandatory evacuation of more than 82,000 people. The fire erupted at approximately 10:36 a.m. Tuesday morning and quickly began spreading along Cajon Pass, engulfing over 18,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, and involving 700 personnel.
  2. Authorities have arrested Damin Pashilk of Clear Lake, CA for allegedly setting the Clayton Fire that ravaged the town of Lower Lake, CA and destroyed at least 175 structures, including homes and businesses. Police are holding Pashilk on 17 charges of arson, with some of those charges carrying what officials termed as "enhancements" because of the businesses and homes the fire destroyed. As of late Tuesday, the fire was 35 percent contained,, had consumed at least 4,000 acres, and was being fought by approximately 1,600 personnel.
  3. Torrential rains that pounded Louisiana since last week resulted in severe flooding that damaged at least 40,000 homes and caused the deaths of at least 11 people. The National Guard was called out to help evacuate more than 20,000 people and about 1,000 pets that were stranded due to the flooding. Approximately 10,000 people are utilizing shelters, and President Obama has granted a federal disaster declaration, which was recently expanded to include 20 parishes affected by the severe flooding.
  4. Protests in Milwaukee over the weekend spurred the burning of businesses and injured a total of 11 police officers in the various clashes. A 10 p.m. curfew was put in place for teenagers throughout the city, and a total of six people were arrested. Officials announced today that they are cautiously optimistic that the unrest has ended, and community and faith-based leaders are receiving the the credit for helping bring residents together.
  5. A new study estimates that nearly 1.9 million homes across the U.S. will be in jeopardy if oceans rise the six feet scientists are now projecting under current carbon emission scenarios. Of these homes, those situated in South Florida are the ones most likely to feel the worst impact, and Downtown Manhattan, with its vast economic hub, is also at risk from rising sea levels.
  6. In Bradley County, Tennessee, the Emergency Management Agency received unanimous approval by the County Finance Committee for an upgraded radio system that will significantly enhance first responder communications throughout the area. The new system will include 6 additional channels and provide better reception in buildings throughout the city. FEMA money left over from the major disaster declaration the county received in April of 2011 when five tornadoes touched down will be used to make the purchase, saving the county taxpayers from having to foot the bill.
  7. An emergency preparedness training drill for the Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant in Soddy-Daisy, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, is set to take place on Wednesday, August 17. The drill, which is set to begin around 8:00 a.m. and will involve federal, state, and local agencies, is being done in compliance with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements for emergency preparedness. Warning sirens may be heard briefly, along with additional activity near the plant, including emergency vehicles. This is a practice for the graded drill that will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
  8. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first microcephaly birth defect believed caused by Zika in Haiti. The small island nation has almost 3,000 Zika virus cases recorded as of Tuesday, with a total of 13 other birth defects identified since March in the nation.
  9. Ford announced on Tuesday that they are building a car that is fully autonomous and will be available in 2021 for purchase by ride-share services, such as Uber. The company says that the new vehicles will not have brake pedals, steering wheels or a gas tank, but to be built this way, the company will first have to get approval from the US Department of Transportation, who regulates motor vehicle safety standards.
  10. A Malaysian oil tanker, the MT Vier Harmoni, that was reported missing by Malaysian officials on Monday has been located. The ship was reportedly carrying 900,000 liters of diesel, worth an approximate USD$392,795 when it went missing and was thought to have been hijacked. An alleged internal dispute among its own crew resulted in the ship being steered into Indonesian waters, where Indonesian officials were conducting a search.

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.