AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: I-40 Bridge to Reopen, Beginning on Monday

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 30, 2021: The FDA announces a recall of carrot products; the NWS confirmed that four tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin early Thursday; a Utah dust storm caused a 22-vehicle crash that killed eight people; the Bootleg Fire has scorched over 413,000 acres as the largest wildfire in the nation; more structures are threatened as the Dixie Fire in California continues to grow; TDOT announced that the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge over the Mississippi will begin reopening on Monday; large air tanker shortages can impede initial attacks and allow unchecked fire growth; the Port of Houston’s two container terminals reopened Thursday afternoon; the FDA announced a recall of several McCormick & Company spices; and UC San Diego Health announced Tuesday that it suffered a cyberattack that compromised student, patient, and employee information. 

1. The Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of carrots produced by Grimmway Farms in California. Six of the carrot products produced by the farm are being recalled due to the suspected presence of salmonella. The products being recalled were shipped directly to retailers nationwide, along with shredded and chunked carrots sold to food service distributors and food manufacturers.

2. Wisconsin is recovering after severe weather spawned tornadoes in Fond-du-Lac, Jefferson and Waukesha counties. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed a total of four tornadoes touched down overnight on Wednesday to Thursday, including three tornadoes rated EF-1 and one EF-0. The tornadoes downed trees and power lines; damaged homes, businesses, and farm buildings; and cut power to at least 45,000 people.

3. A massive dust storm swept through Utah, between Kanosh and Meadow, and reduced visibility to near zero. The dust storm caused multiple crashes that led to a 22-car pileup on Interstate 15, forcing authorities to shut down a portion of the highway. The chain-reaction crash killed at least eight people, and multiple others were critically injured and taken to nearby hospitals.

4. The Bootleg Fire is the largest wildfire currently burning across the nation. Firefighters have achieved approximately 53% containment, but the blaze has already scorched 413,545 acres. The lightning-caused fire continues to burn approximately 11 miles northeast of the town of Sprague River, with smoke highly visible from multiple area roadways.

5. The Dixie Fire burning in Northern California has forced thousands of residents from their homes due to mandatory evacuation orders in Butte and Plumas counties. The fire has scorched almost 225,450  acres and consumed at least 35 structures, after merging with the smaller Fry Fire as it tore through Plumas County. There are more than 5,930 personnel assigned to the fire, and the fire remains at about 23% containment.

6. The Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River that connects Tennessee and Arkansas, the Hernando de Soto Bridge, will partially reopen on Monday. Eastbound lanes will be the first to reopen on Monday. The bridge’s reopening comes nearly 12 weeks after the bridge’s closure on May 11 when a fracture in a support beam was found. Officials from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) confirmed that the bridge will be fully opened and operational by Friday, August 6.

7. Wildfire season is in full swing with over 21,000 personnel fighting at least 66 large wildfires, most of which are burning in the West. Aerial firefighting abilities greatly reduce the threat of new fires from escaping an initial attack and becoming massive wildfires, but often there are not enough large air tankers (LATs) available. LATs are used to drop retardant to help prevent fire advancement. Currently, only 23 are in available and in use, along with five military C-130 Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS).

8. The Port of Houston’s two container terminals shut down Monday morning due to a hardware failure. Storage devices used to process transactions failed, including redundant backup devices, preventing the processing of new vessels. The Port denied the failure was caused by a cyberattack, and both terminals were reopened at about 3 p.m. on Thursday.

9. McCormick & Company recently recalled some of their spice products due to potential salmonella contamination. A total of four spices sold at retail stores, including Walmart, Target and Kroger, were involved in the recall. The spices were shipped to at least 32 states, Bermuda and Canada. Consumers are urged to discard the recalled products and contact the company for a full refund.

10. UC San Diego Health, an academic health system for the University of California, San Diego, announced Tuesday that it has suffered a cyberattack that compromised patient, student and employee information. The hospital said the attack occurred through unauthorized access to employee email accounts, and hackers had access to the information for at least four months – from December through April.

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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