National Guard responds to domestic disasters
April 27, 2011
ARLINGTON, Va., April 26, 2011 -- About 900 National Guard members are responding today to floods, fires, tornadoes, and other emergency situations in six states.
Guard members are responding or staging personnel in response to weather reports that forecast more rain in already flooded areas of North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, as well as tornadoes in Arkansas and ongoing wildfires in Texas. Operations in Minnesota are wrapping up.
In North Dakota, more than 350 Guard members are patrolling levees to monitor possible breaches, manning traffic control points and serving as quick-reaction forces, providing more than 18,000 sandbags to reinforce levees, according to North Dakota National Guard reports.
In Missouri, more than 200 servicemembers from the 1140th Engineer Battalion are being activated to assist with a levee breach in Poplar Bluff and surrounding areas in the southern portion of the state. The engineers will assist with sandbag and evacuation operations, Missouri National Guard officials said.
Support also is 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 Davies counties. More than 220 Indiana National Guard members are on duty there.
In Arkansas, where several tornadoes touched down, more than 100 Army and Air Guard members are providing route clearance, security and traffic control duties. Eighty-five of them are in Vilonia, a town just north of Little Rock, while 20 others are assisting in the community of Hot Springs, with more planned for Garland, Faulkner and Carroll counties, said Capt. Christopher Heathscott, Arkansas Guard public affairs officer.
Elsewhere, wildfires in Texas have burned more than 1.6 million acres and 244 homes. Aircraft from North Carolina, California, and Wyoming equipped with the modular airborne firefighting system are responding, as well as four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with firefighting equipment.