AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: NIST Camp Fire Report Released

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 1, 2021: NIST study points to terrain and dry winds as a major factor in the rapid Camp Fire spread; the ACIP has approved the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use; a Wind Advisory is in effect for New York State and the tri-state region; the Brazos Electric Power Cooperative filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the recent Texas power grid failure; the FDA announced the recall of a popular hand soap for bacterial contamination; severe weather moved through Tennessee overnight and prompted flash flood warnings and tornado watches; prepackaged and ready-to-eat salads and wraps were recalled for potential Listeria contamination; and firefighters in Arizona halted the forward progress of the Little Fire after it scorched at least 100 acres.

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1. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released its study on the Camp Fire. The report points to high levels of preparedness for Butte County and Paradise, including the reduction of Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire hazards, infrastructure protection, and practiced evacuation plans. Significant findings in the NIST report point to rapid growth and fire spread resulting from environmental conditions that included dry winds, steep topographical features, and extremely dry vegetation — that led to fire spotting — up to 7 miles away in just 1.5 hours.

2. The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). It is the third vaccine granted emergency use by the ACIP since December. The vaccine is approved for use in anyone over the age of 18, and an estimated 3.9 million doses could be available as early as Tuesday.

3. A Wind Advisory is in effect for parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, along with other nearby states. Wind gusts of 45-55 mph are expected across the region, which could lead to downed limbs and trees along with sporadic power outages. The advisory is in effect from Monday afternoon until Tuesday morning, when wind chills will be near zero across the advisory area.

4. Brazos Electric Power Cooperative filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the recent widespread power outages in Texas. The bankruptcy announcement comes after the Cooperative received a staggering $1.8 billion bill from the grid operator, Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). It is the state’s oldest and largest electric power cooperative, serving over 660,000 residents across the state of Texas.

5. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the recall of various scents of a popular hand soap contaminated with bacteria. Scent Theory recalled at least four of its scented hand soaps after concerns they may be contaminated by Burkholderia cepacia. B cepacia is a group of bacteria that are often resistant to common antibiotics and may pose a health risk to those who are immunocompromised or have certain medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis.

6. Tornado watches were issued in multiple counties in Tennessee last night as a band of severe weather moved through the greater Nashville area. Several inches of rain also fell across Middle Tennessee in the past 24 hours, which prompted flash flood warnings and flood advisories. The wet weather is expected to drop several more inches of rain before moving off to the east by midday on Monday.

7. Prepackaged, ready-to-eat salads and wraps from J&J Distributing, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, have been recalled for potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall was announced after an independent third-party test sample tested positive for the bacteria. At least three wrap and three salad varieties are included in the recall, which were distributed to stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

8. Firefighters in Arizona announced Sunday morning that they had stopped the forward progress of a wildfire that began on Saturday. The Little Fire began in Winslow on tribal property and quickly spread to state-protected land before it was contained. The blaze scorched at least 100 acres. According to investigators, the fire was human-caused, although the ignition source remains unknown.

  

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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