AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: Dixie Fire Consumes over 30,000 Acres

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 19, 2021: FEMA is hosting webinars on two of its competitive Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs; the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season sees a temporary pause; EMI released its 2022 schedule for VTTXs; a new whole-of-government website becomes a single source on ransomware; two tropical systems are churning in the Pacific Ocean; Red Flag Warnings and increased fire danger persist in the Northwest and Northern Plains; Egypt and Sudan voice objections to the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam; and the Dixie Fire prompted additional evacuation orders as it exploded in growth late Sunday.

1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hosting webinars on two of its competitive Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs. The webinars will offer information and guidance on the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant programs. The webinars are being held beginning in late July through October, and information and registration for the webinars is available on the FEMA website.

2. The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is experiencing a pause due to a Saharan dust plume. The Saharan dust reduces the amount of moisture available in the atmosphere, thereby reducing the development of tropical systems. Although the dust plume reduces tropical activity, it increases air pollution and may affect individuals with respiratory issues or allergies.

3. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI), part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), released its Virtual Tabletop Exercise Program (VTTX) schedule for 2022. The 2022 exercises focus on three of the Principals’ Strategic Priorities of FEMA’s National Exercise Program, which include cybersecurity, national security emergencies and catastrophic incidents, and operational coordination and communication. Realistic scenarios are to include natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes; man-made threats including active shooters; and cybersecurity issues.

4. A one-stop location to address increasingly emerging ransomware threats is now available from the U.S. government. The new interagency website is a whole-of-government approach that provides ransomware resources and alerts for public and private organizations. StopRansomware.gov offers organizations information on the threat of ransomware, how to mitigate risk, and what to do if impacted by a ransomware attack.

5. There are two tropical systems churning in the eastern Pacific Ocean, Hurricane Felicia and Tropical Storm Guillermo. Felicia has lost intensity, causing it to be reclassified from a Category 4 to a Category 2 hurricane, and the hurricane is expected to continue to weaken into a tropical storm by the end of the day. Tropical Storm Guillermo is moving west and is situated to the north of Hurricane Felicia, but is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by tomorrow. Neither of the systems are expected to be a threat to any landmass.

6. The Northwest and Northern Plains continue to swelter under an ongoing heatwave. Red Flag Warnings are also in effect for several states through Tuesday evening due to excessive heat, dry fuels, low humidity and brisk winds. States impacted by Red Flag Warnings include Idaho and Montana, along with portions of Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

7. The second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is now complete, allowing operation of its two turbines. The move has angered both Egypt and Sudan, who also rely on the Blue Nile for water resources and dam operations. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over the dam and the vital water source provided to Egypt and Sudan by the Nile have largely failed, and the United States has asked the opposing nations to refrain from taking any actions.

8. The Dixie Fire burning above the Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon in California has exploded to consume more than 30,000 acres. Officials ordered additional evacuations on Sunday night, including in Plumas and Butte Counties. The Lassen National Forest is closed until September 16, and some roadways in the area are closed until further notice. According to CalFire, the Dixie Fire – which began on July 14 and is burning just north of where the Camp Fire burned in 2018 – is being fought with a Unified Command.

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.

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