Guard Responds to Weather Damage, Wildfires
By Army Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., Jul. 2, 2012 National Guard soldiers and airmen are responding to damage left behind by severe weather and destructive wildfires in several states across the U.S. today.
Virginia National Guard soldiers conduct mounted reconnaissance patrols in the Fredericksburg, Va., area July 2, 2012, to assess the impact of recent severe weather in the region. The soldiers set out to check roads, assess damage and provide residents with information about local cooling shelters. When needed, the soldiers relay information to emergency response organizations if people need help. U.S. Army photo by Cotton Puryear
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Along the East Coast and in parts of the Midwest, high temperatures and severe thunderstorms caused power outages for millions over the weekend.
More than 750 Guard members from the District of Columbia, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia responded to provide traffic control points, door-to-door health and wellness checks and debris removal.
West Virginia National Guard members have cleared more than 920 truckloads of debris from the storm and have helped with refueling of backup generators at hospitals and nursing homes, officials said.
In Florida, where heavy rains from Tropical Storm Debby lingered for several days, about 70 Florida National Guard members are continuing flood support missions. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Air Force Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., state’s adjutant general, visited residents in the affected areas June 29.
“Talking to some of the people, it was very gratifying to hear when they told me they were rescued by the Florida National Guard,” Titshaw said. “It’s the reason we do what we do.”
In the western states, Guard members from Colorado continue to battle wildfires there that have burned more than 100,000 acres of woodlands and either destroyed or damaged personal property. National Guard reports said that as of yesterday, the High Park wildfire was 100 percent contained and the Waldo Canyon wildfire was 45 percent contained.
Guard members also are responding to wildfires in Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming, where operations include setting up checkpoints and providing UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with buckets for aerial fire support.