urronestly I had no idea what I was doing when it came time to picking Case Studies. I remember Dr. Gallagher saying we should pick something we were interested in either by disaster or area, so I started googling disasters in Florida since I liked the area. Somehow I got on the track of fires and the name Bugaboo Scrub Fire jumped out at me. I had no idea what it was about, but the name looked cool so I signed up for it knowing absolutely nothing. I was very surprised as I started to research the fire that I actually became quite interested in it.
2007 went down as one of the most extremes fire seasons in recent memory. Fires were popping up all over the south in the summer and the Bugaboo Scrub Fire was the largest yet in combined Georgia and Florida history. Immediately preceding the Bugaboo Scrub Fire were the Sweat Farm Road Fire and the Big Turnaround Fire. These two events started a month before the Bugaboo Scrub Fire and when the three joined together in May 2007, they created a gargantuan force known as the Georgia Bay Complex.
What caused the fire? Specifically, a strike of lighting on May 5, 2007 on Bugaboo Island in the Okefenokee Swamp. What contributed to turning it into the largest fire in over 75 years? There were a few causes that all tied in together to create this perfect storm, or fire per say. The area was suffering from an extreme drought and locals knew for over a year that a massive fire was inevitable with the drought levels. Another factor was Subtropical Storm Andrea. Scientists were hopeful that the hurricane would bring rain to help cool the area, but unfortunately that did not happen. Subtropical Storm Andrea changed course and the Okefenokee Swamp fell out of range of the rains and into range of strong winds that picked up and carried the fires across the states. By May 16, 2007 over 120,000 acres were set ablaze. The last contributing factor was a lack of perscribed burns. The fire teams repeatedly stated that they knew a fire was inevitable that summer, but they did not change their habits in the number of controlled fires they lit to clear out flammable underbrush or start the process sooner.
All of this combined to create a fire that took almost 6 months to fully extinguish and over $3.5 billion in costs and damages. Luckily, the fire mitigation teams were able to protect local towns and no lives were lost in the process. It also forced the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center to release a comprehensive High Reliability Organizing (HRO) Implementation report on how to effectively work with the many fire and rescue services to educate the mitigation teams for the future.
Satellite picture from NASA of the Bugaboo Scrub Fire and the smoke it produced.
Thursday morning an EF0 Tornado touched down in Monroe, Washington around 10:30 a.m. in the area of West Main Street and 170th Drive. The area saw minor property damage including the toppling of two RVs, a trampoline thrown in the air, and a smashed car. Luckily no persons were injured.
“It didn’t last long — probably not much longer than a minute,” meteorologist Danny Mercer said. A couple storms like these are typical this time of year, he said. “Flukey spinoffs come off the Puget Sound convergence zone” when winds in the upper atmosphere collide over the region, Haner said. Strong tornados have a “good core” of fierce winds and happen during thunderstorms, Haner said.
Car smashed by RV toppled over from tornado. Photo by Jessica Lee of Yakima Herald
On Thursday, March 9, a combined effort from the Clayton and Glassboro firefighters formed to assist the New Jersey Forest Fire Service in extinguishing a forest fire. Said forest fire broke out in the Glassboro Wildlife Management Area in a 30-mile area. Gloucester County and 9 others were facing gusty winds on Thursday and had previously placed under a wildfire alert, so the crews were prepared to jump into action. According to the Clayton Fire Company, crews had responded by 1 p.m. and the fire was extinguished by 7 p.m. Luckily the area contained a multitude of ponds and wetlands, which helped to contain the fire. No homes or people were endangered by the flames.
Forest Fire in Gloucester
Flames beginning to die down
Firefighting crews after extinguishing all of the fires
On Tuesday the island of Maui was faced with heavy pouring downfalls resulting in flash floods that stranded locals and completely submerged residences. Motorists were trapped inside their cars on the roads during the torrential rain, while other were washed away. Seven people had to be rescued from South Kihei Road. Initially the state was under a Flash Flood Warning, but this has since expired and been reclassified as a Flash Flood Watch through late Wednesday. Witnesses say that the storm came suddenly and with force. Resident Vernon Kalanikau and his wife were able to get to safety in time where they were able to observe the damage the flash flood brought with it. He described watching what started out as a small trickle by the Kulanihakoi Bridge in five minutes turn into a swift stream and then a full out river as it carried away debris and cars.
Cars and homes submerged by the Flash Floods. Photo: Kevin Olson.
On Friday wildfires spread throughout central Oklahoma. One wildfire in particular near Norman, OK forced around 100 to flee from their homes for shelter. The Norman Fire Department and the National Guard worked together to douse the flames. The National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning for half of the state on Friday due to the warm temperatures, low humidity, and high winds. Affected areas include a forest between 108th and 120th Avenue NE, and the east and westbound lanes of I40 near the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort. At this time there are no reported injuries or permanent structural damages.
National Guard helicopter flies over a wildfire near SE 149th and Choctaw Rd. on Friday, March 3, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Early Tuesday morning a series of severe storms spawned at least 6 tornadoes in southeastern Texas near the Houston Metro. One city majorly affected by these tornadoes was Van Vleck, Texas. The Associated Press reported at least 7 people being transported to the hospital for injuries sustained as a result of the tornadoes. One injury came to a mother who shielded her child from the tornado as it flipped their mobile home. The mother is still in the hospital with a possible spine injury. The structural damage the city sustained from the tornadoes was approximately a mile long. Recreational vehicles were flipped, tops of trees were twisted off, and homes were completely uprooted among other incidents.
Early Saturday morning four people were injured by a minor earthquake that hit Taiwan. This was a great victory for the country, as they have been working on improving their safety conditions. One year ago a magnitude 6.4 earthquake destroyed a 16-story apartment and killed 115 people. This incident contributed to to stricter safety and building regulations.
The Saturday morning earthquake was a magnitude 5.6 and hit near the coast of Tainan city around 1:12 a.m. News sources reported over 50,000 homes were affected by a brief power outage. Fortunately there were no deaths reported as a result of this incident.
Multiple accidents were reported Friday in Portland, OR due to icy road conditions. A multi-vehilce pileup was reported on I-5 that shut down all southbound lanes of traffic for many hours. Luckily only injuries were reported. Another accident as a result of this weather was a semi-truck falling off of I-84 and down into a 50-foot embankment towards the Columbia River on early Friday morning.