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Volume 27, Issue 4

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When the Smoke Cleared

Written by  Janette Ballman & Frank Mahdavi November 22, 2007

Worst Wildfires in California History Prove Valuable Lesson for Continuity Planners By JANETTE BALLMAN Emergency responders and continuity planners had their hands full when nearly a dozen wildfires erupted in California during mid-October. Strong Santa Ana winds and record heat combined in mid-October to ignite overgrown brush and thick timber and send thousands of people from their homes and businesses. The fast-moving flames destroyed 740,000 acres, burned nearly 3,600 buildings, and killed 22, including one firefighter. Planners at businesses in the fire zones rushed to implement continuity plans, while emergency responders dealt with the worst outbreak of wildfires in the state’s history. In total, more than 2,000 firefighters and hundreds of medical personnel battled the blazes. More than 50 businesses were burned or damaged, with hundreds more on guard as the erratic fires threatened the smoke-filled area. The largest fire, known as the Cedar Fire, was located in the Cleveland National Forest in Southern San

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