Timeline of Homeland Security Events and Milestones

2017

Thomas Fire

(Credit: NASA)

December 4, 2017: A quick-moving wildfire began north of Santa Paula, CA south of Thomas Aquinas College, and burns over 280,000+ acres, becoming the largest wildfire in California history.

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2016

Western/Southeast Wildfires – Summer/Fall 2016

Widlfire, Great Smoky Mountains - NPS

(Credit: National Park Service)

June-December 2016: Drought conditions contributed to an active wildfire season with over 5.0 million acres burned nationally. A devastating firestorm impacted Gatlinburg, Tennessee when hurricane-force wind gusts in extremely dry conditions created volatile wildfire behavior.

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2015

San Bernardino Shooting

December 2, 2015: Husband and wife, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik began shooting at coworkers of one of the shooters at an event in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. Fourteen people were killed; twenty-two were wounded.
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2014

Five Cybersecurity Bills Become Law

December 18, 2015: In the 113th Congress, five significant cybersecurity bills were signed by President Barack Obama.

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2012

Sandy Hook School Shooting

(Credit: Aviano AFB)

December 14, 2012: In the space of several minutes, Adam Lanza killed 20 elementary school children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragic event heightened growing concerns about school security and gun control laws.

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2012

2012 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

January-December 2012: The 2012 drought is the most extensive drought to affect the U.S. since the 1930s. Moderate to extreme drought conditions affected more than half the country for a majority of 2012.

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2008

Tennessee Ash Spill

(Credit: Tennessee Valley Authority)

December 22, 2008: an ash pond dike broke, which released 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash. The spill covered over 300 acres of Watts Bar Reservoir.

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2004

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act

December 17, 2004: This act created a Director of National Intelligence to coordinate the work of 15 federal intelligence agencies and established a National Counter Terrorism Center to analyze intelligence information – ‘connecting the dots’ so the government could take effective action to detect, prevent, and disrupt terrorist activity. — 9-11 Commission, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Reform

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1990

1990 California Freeze

December 20, 1990-January 3, 1991: Fourteen days of subfreezing temperatures crippled California, particularly within the Central Valley where citrus and other crops suffered damage, and thousands of workers were left jobless.

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1988

Pan Am 103 Bombing

(Credit: FBI)

December 21, 1988: Pan Am Flight 103 departed from London’s Heathrow Airport, bound for New York City. However, just 40 minutes into the flight, the plane exploded 31,000 feet up in the skies above Lockerbie, Scotland.

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1975

LaGuardia Airport Bombing

December 29, 1975: The LaGuardia Airport bombing, which killed 11 and seriously injured 74, “was the deadliest attack in New York City since the Wall Street bombing of 1920, which killed 38, until the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.” — Wikipedia

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1970

Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster

(Credit: Upike94/wiki user)

December 30, 1970: A blast tore through mine shafts 15 and 16 Finely Mine. Just a month earlier, the Bureau of Mine had declared the mine an imminent danger.

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1941

Attack on Pearl Harbor

(Credit: Unknown U.S. Navy photographer)

December 7, 1941: Japan launches an attack on Pearl Harbor which goes down as one of the worst attacks on American soil, and catapults the nation into a world war that lasted four years.

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1811

New Madrid, Missouri Earthquakes

(Credit: USGS)

December 15, 1811: The 1811-1812 New Madrid Sequence consisted of three large earthquakes that spanned from December 15, 1811 to February 7, 1812, followed by hundreds of aftershocks felt throughout the next year.

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