National Guard responds to multiple domestic disasters
(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. John Crosby)
ARLINGTON, Va. (4/26/11) - Approximately 900 National Guard members are currently responding to floods, fires, tornadoes, and other emergency situations in six states.
Guard members are responding or staging personnel in response to weather reports which forecast more rain in already flooded areas of North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, as well as tornadoes in Arkansas and ongoing wildfires in Texas. Minnesota is currently wrapping up operations.
In North Dakota, more than 350 Guard members are performing operations such as patrolling levees to monitor possible breaches, traffic control points and serving as Quick Reaction Forces. The QRF has thrown more than 18,000 sandbags to reinforce levees, according to North Dakota National Guard reports.
In Missouri, more than 200 service members from the 1140th Engineer Battalion are being activated to assist with a levee breach in the community of Poplar Bluff and surrounding areas in the southern portion of the state. The engineers will assist with sandbag and evacuation operations, said officials with the Missouri National Guard Public Affairs Office.
Support is also ongoing in Indiana, where the Indiana Guard recently received a request from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security for sandbagging support due to flooding in Gibson, Knox, and Daviess Counties. More than 220 Indiana National Guard members are on duty there.
In Arkansas, where tornadoes touched down in multiple towns, more than 100 Army and Air Guard members there are providing route clearance, security, and traffic control. Eighty-five are performing these duties in Vilonia, a town just north of Little Rock, while 20 are assisting in the community of Hot Springs, with more planned for Garland, Faulkner and Carroll Counties, according to Capt. Christopher Heathscott, Arkansas State Public Affairs Officer.
Elsewhere, wildfires in the state of Texas have burned more than 1.6 million acres have burned and 244 homes. Aircraft from North Carolina, California, and Wyoming equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting system are currently responding, as well as four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with firefighting equipment.