AMU Emergency Management Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: California’s Glass Fire Erupts into Major Wildfire

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 28, 2020: The Glass Fire erupted into a major fire just hours after its start and prompted multiple evacuations; PG&E initiated PSPS beginning early Sunday to help prevent the start of wildfires amid dangerous fire weather conditions; dried mushrooms from Southern California are being blamed for the latest outbreak of salmonella; the Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado exhibited extreme fire behavior over the weekend and threatened nearby communities; three phases of recovery following a wildfire exist to address immediate threats to life, property, and natural resources and often begin even before the fire has been contained; IPAWS releases a new toolkit that assists with effective program creation and support of alerts, warnings, and notifications to the public; the deadline to apply for a nomination to the National Exercise Program is November 1; and the Glass Fire consumed homes in Santa Rosa and sparked two other fires that prompted additional evacuations.

Start an Emergency & Disaster Management degree at American Military University.

1) Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for thousands of residents in Napa and Sonoma counties as a new, swift-moving wildfire erupted. The Glass Fire began early Sunday morning near Deer Park, California, and was only about 20 acres when fire crews arrived on scene. According to CalFire, the fire had progressed to 1,200 acres nine hours later due to wind-driven runs. By late Sunday night, the fire had consumed more than 2,500 acres.

2) PG&E cut power to thousands of residents on Sunday amid high winds that had the potential to spark wildfires. About 11,000 customers in Butte and Plumas counties had their power cut early Sunday morning, while approximately 54,000 customers across 16 counties had power cut Sunday evening. According to PG&E, ongoing PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoffs) are in place due to various Red Flag Warnings as a result of dangerous fire weather conditions.

3) Dried mushrooms from Southern California are being blamed for the most recent outbreak of salmonella. More than 40 people across 10 states — including Arizona, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — have reportedly been sickened by wood ear mushrooms allegedly tainted with salmonella. The dried mushrooms were distributed to restaurants in six packs of five-pound bags by Wismettac Asian Foods based near Los Angeles, and a recall has been issued for the mushrooms.

4) Residents in Colorado living near the Cameron Peak Fire were on high alert again over the weekend as extreme fire behavior caused the fire to rapidly spread. The wildfire has now consumed over 124,000 acres and is burning about 15 miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes, with mandatory evacuations in place for the communities of Red Feather Lakes, Crystal Lakes, and Glacier View. Available dry fuels combined with low relative humidity and elevated winds will keep fire activity between moderate and extreme over the next 24 hours.

5) Three phases of recovery exist following wildfires on federal lands, including fire suppression repair, emergency stabilization (also known as Burned Area Emergency Response, or BAER), and long-term recovery and restoration. Before a wildfire has been fully contained, work to reduce the impacts of fighting a wildfire will often begin, with the first phase being the repair of lines cut by bulldozers or by hand. The second phase includes a rapid assessment of burned watershed areas to determine immediate threats to life, safety, property, and other critical or cultural resources that were damaged in order to quickly minimize those damages, if possible. The third phase looks at assisting with recovery and repair efforts for areas burned that are unlikely to recover naturally, along with the repair or replacement of non-critical structures burned by the fire.

6) A new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Planning Toolkit has been released to assist with effective program creation and support of alerts, warnings, and notifications for local, state, tribal, and territorial alerting authorities. The new program will assist alerting authorities by helping to minimize alert delays; helping to plan enhancements for future alerts, warnings, and notifications; and facilitate interoperability across different technologies. Allegedly, the new toolkit will also help improve information sharing between emergency management and public safety officials, all of whom identified gaps in current IPAWS messaging.

7) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting nominations to the National Exercise Program (NEP). The program offers assistance with exercise design, development, execution, and evaluation of capabilities across all mission areas for validation. Two webinars are available that discuss the nomination process, the final one of which will be held on October 6. The deadline for accepting nominations for the NEP are November 1, 2020.

8) The Glass Fire is believed to have sparked two other wildfires, including the Boysen Fire and the Shady Fire. Both blazes broke out later on Sunday and prompted additional evacuations. The Glass Fire destroyed the Chateau Boswell Winery along the Silverado Trail, along with the Glass Mountain Inn late Sunday. It also came dangerously close to a hospital which had been evacuated just a short time prior to the fires’ approach. The Shady Fire destroyed homes in Santa Rosa, and fire officials noted that the Boysen and Shady Fires were on the verge of merging very late Sunday. Mass evacuations caused area traffic jams, endangering those attempting to evacuate.


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.

Comments are closed.