AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Mass Evacuations from Caldor Fire

Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 1, 2021: Grand Isle suffers catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ida as officials call the island uninhabitable; TDOT identified four state-owned bridges damaged beyond repair during flash flooding in August; the world’s largest container ship successfully completed its first journey through the Suez Canal on its maiden voyage; remnants from Hurricane Ida approach the East Coast, bringing heavy rainfall and threats of severe storms and possible tornadoes; a mass evacuation of residents in the South Lake Tahoe region was ordered on Monday as the Caldor Fire continues its unchecked growth; Beaumont Health notified at least 1,500 patients that their information had been leaked during the Accellion cyberattack; Tropical Storm Larry forms in the Atlantic and another low-pressure system is being monitored by the NHC in the southwestern Caribbean; Air Quality Alerts are in effect for areas in and around Lake Tahoe as air quality reaches the Hazardous level.

1. The main route to Grand Isle, Louisiana, LA-1, is closed after Hurricane Ida caused widespread devastation across the area. The majority of homes and businesses on the island suffered some type of damage, or were completely destroyed or completely gone, with officials depicting the island as uninhabitable. Critical infrastructure services are not available. Officials are asking residents to wait to access the island and their homes until road assessments are completed and the roads are deemed safe for travel.

2. Flash flooding that inundated several counties in Tennessee on August 21 destroyed at least 11 bridges across at least two counties. According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), four state-owned bridges in Humphreys and Hickman counties were damaged beyond repair and will remain closed until new ones are constructed. TDOT inspected a total of 100 bridges, and among those inspected, they also found a total of seven locally owned bridges in Humphreys County that are in need of replacement or repair.


3. Recently, the largest container ship ever built successfully traversed the Suez Canal. The Ever Ace, built by Samsung Heavy Industries for the Evergreen Marine Corporation, set sail on its maiden voyage from Taiwan to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The ship can carry a total of 23,992 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), weighs 235,000 tons and is 1,312 feet long.

4. Remnants from Hurricane Ida moved through the Tennessee Valley region on Monday and Tuesday, and the storm is now threatening East Coast states, including New Jersey. The threats include heavy rainfall amounts, flash flooding, flooding, severe thunderstorms and potential tornadoes. Total rainfall amounts across New Jersey are likely to range from three to six inches, but local rainfall amounts could be higher.

5. On Monday, a mass evacuation was ordered for residents in South Lake Tahoe due to the Caldor Fire. The mandatory evacuation order was prompted after Red Flag Warnings were issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Sacramento for the Northern Sierra and Southern Cascades from Monday through Wednesday night. Firefighters are facing extreme firefighting conditions amid low humidity levels and warm temperatures, along with forecast strong winds and 35-40 mph wind gusts in some areas.

6. Approximately 1,500 patients were notified by Michigan’s Beaumont Health on Friday that their personal information may have been breached during the Accellion hack. According to reports, the data breach likely included the patient’s name, physician, procedure and internal record number. Beaumont Health joins at least 11 other healthcare organizations, including Kroger Pharmacy and Centene, that were impacted by the Accellion ransomware attack that occurred nearly nine months ago.

7. Tropical Storm Larry formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday afternoon and is forecast to become a hurricane as early as Friday. The system currently poses no threat to land, but current models show that the storm could likely reach Category 3 strength, possibly as early as Sunday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is watching another area of low pressure over the southwestern Caribbean, which shows heavy rainfall potential regardless of tropical development.

8. Air Quality Alerts are in effect for the South Lake Tahoe region due to area wildfires, especially the Caldor Fire. AirNow shows the current Air Quality Level at 344, or hazardous, and has cautioned area residents impacted by the heavy smoke to remain indoors. A recent update shows that new evacuation warnings have been issued, and the Caldor Fire has now scorched 204,390 acres and is only 20% contained, with a total number of assigned personnel at 4,224. CalFire also noted that strained resources exist across the country due to current wildfires and reminded the public of the closure of nine area National Forests.


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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