AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: DRC’s Mount Nyiragongo Volcano Erupts

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 24, 2021: Italy’s transportation infrastructure safety comes into question again after a cable car plunged to the ground and killed 14 people; sub-tropical Storm Ana developed on Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean; Mount Nyiragongo violently erupted Saturday night in Congo and forced residents to flee their homes near Goma; the USGS recorded a 4.2 magnitude earthquake under Kilauea’s south flank Sunday morning; the Tree Frog Fire burning in Florida is now at least 60% contained; the NIST case study of the Camp Fire in 2018 highlights 2,200 observations on WUI fire spread, behavior, evacuation, and structure response; Sonoma County released its evacuation maps on its website for the 2021 wildfire season; and Oregon has adopted new rules for PSPS for the 2021 wildfire season.

1. A cable car broke loose and fell about 65 feet (20 meters) onto rugged mountain terrain in the Turin region near Lake Maggiore in Italy. Fourteen people are dead, including one child, and another child is in critical condition following the incident. Authorities have not determined a cause for the crash, but reports by hikers of a loud hiss just before they heard the crash indicate that the cable failed.

2. Sub-tropical Storm Ana formed in the Atlantic Ocean early Saturday and is the first named storm of the 2021 hurricane season. The storm, located about 200 miles northeast of Bermuda, had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), it was categorized as a sub-tropical storm because it was entangled with an upper-level low.

3. After nearly 20 years, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Mount Nyiragongo erupted on Saturday night in a fiery display. The explosive eruption sent copious amounts of lava flowing into the Buhene neighborhood on the outskirts of Goma, where at least 500 homes were destroyed. Thousands of residents fled the area as the swift-moving lava swept towards Goma, and authorities noted that it is too early to determine the death toll.

4. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake occurred beneath Kilauea Sunday morning at around 11:41 a.m. HST. The quake occurred 9.3 miles south of Volcano, Hawaii, along the south flank of the volcano at a shallow depth of about 4.66 miles. Light shaking from the earthquake was felt across much of the island, and scientists at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) are closely monitoring Kilauea and Mauna Loa for any changes.

5. The Tree Frog Fire in Indian River County, Florida, is now about 60% contained. On Friday, the swift- moving wildfire produced heavy smoke that forced the closure of I-95 in both directions for about 10 hours. The wildfire has consumed about 1,230 acres in Fellsmere, located in the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.

6. A recently published case study about the Camp Fire details more than 2,200 observations regarding the fire spread and behavior. Published by the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST), the case study provides an in-depth look at the Wildland-Urban Interface fire, including its spread, behavior, evacuation and structure response. The study revealed that Butte County and the Town of Paradise were extremely well prepared to respond to a traditional WUI fire; however, the Camp Fire defied tradition, igniting structures in Paradise in just under six hours from the fire’s start.

7. Sonoma County has released evacuation maps ahead of peak wildfire season. Residents can find the maps on the county’s website, type in their address or zip code, and click on the town or city to find their evacuation zone number. Officials are urging residents to write down the zone number and to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice by having a go-bag. The go-bag should include essential items such as prescription medicines, food, water, appropriate clothing and important documents.

8. Oregon has adopted new rules for Public Service Power Shutoffs (PSPS) ahead of the 2021 wildfire season. The new rules were approved by the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) and state the final say on power being cut will lie with area utilities. Prior to the PSPS, the utility company is required to notify the public  and especially vulnerable populations that may be adversely impacted by a PSPS. Those groups include the elderly and those with medical equipment that requires power, such as oxygen generators.

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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