Image courtesy of Steve Halama on Unsplash
Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 1, 2021: The Kilauea volcano began erupting again on Wednesday for the second time this year; firefighters gained ground on the dangerous Ptarmigan Fire burning in Colorado; a wind shift could send dangerous gases created by lava entering the ocean towards coastal residents on La Palma; computer chip production has allegedly been impacted by China’s mandatory power outages; a massive wind turbine collapsed in Germany just prior to its official launch; businesses and homeowners get creative by using goats to help reduce brush to prevent more wildfires; law enforcement arrests two in conjunction with a series of bomb threats at Alachua County schools; and Hurricane Sam is now a Category 4 storm churning in the open Atlantic Ocean.
1. The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) stated that the Kilauea volcano began erupting on Wednesday for the second time this year. The eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island included lava fountains and gases consisting of water vapor (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2), although it is contained within the Halema’uma’u crater. Just prior to its eruption, earthquake activity and ground swelling prompted the USGS to raise the alert status of the Kilauea volcano to Aviation Code Red and the Alert Level to Warning.
2. A wildfire in Colorado is still burning amid heavy timber, treacherous downfall and dead standing trees, despite recent rainfall. The Ptarmigan Fire is burning to the north of I-70 and the Silverthorne area, and although firefighters made significant progress on Thursday, residents should remain vigilant to changing fire conditions. Evacuated residents were permitted to return home on Thursday, as firefighters continued to battle the blaze from the air and the ground.
3. Lava flowing into the sea from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma continues to emit dangerous gases. Until Thursday night, prevailing winds were pushing those gases out to sea, limiting the danger to coastal residents. A shift in the weather may impact the gas plume, sending sulphur dioxide (SO2) and other dangerous gases towards shore. Officials warned that SO2 levels had already increased in Tazacorte on Thursday, and ash levels have increased in Santa Cruz de La Palma as lava and ash continue to erupt from the volcano.
4. The production of computer chips was allegedly interrupted in at least two companies in China due to the recent mandatory power outages. ASE Technology and GlobalWafers suffered industrial blackouts that had them shut down at least through September 30, which could impact the supply chain in the near future. Loss of production will produce a ripple affect, impacting both suppliers and end receivers of the computer chips, at least until companies are able to adjust production processes, including the increasing of output in other regions.
5. A massive, 788-foot wind turbine completely collapsed in Germany, just hours before its official launch. Officials said they do not suspect sabotage in the collapse of the turbine, which is located in a western forest near Haltern. The wind turbine, which cost an estimated two million euros, was scheduled to go online Thursday, even though it was connected to the grid at least six months ago.
6. As the danger of wildfires continues amid the ongoing drought in California, homeowners and businesses are getting creative to help protect their properties. Nearly 10,000 goats are being used across the state to help reduce brush, essentially creating fire breaks. Grazing goats can cover large swaths of land, helping reduce underbrush, litter story and other fuels needed for wildfires to spread rapidly.
7. Law enforcement continues to investigate bomb threats sent to several schools in Alachua County this past month. Most recently, students were evacuated from Gainesville High School on Thursday after its second bomb threat this week. It was the sixth day in a row that the Alachua County School District received a bomb threat at one of its schools. The threats impact the ability of local law enforcement to do their jobs, disrupt classes and extracurricular activities, and waste money and resources.
8. Hurricane Sam became a Category 4 storm overnight as it expanded its wind fields and underwent another intensification. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Bermuda, as heavy swells and other tropical storm conditions are likely, although the storm is expected to stay well east of the island. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts show the storm making a north-northeastward turn beginning Friday through Saturday evening and gradually weakening over cooler waters in the Atlantic Ocean.