National Guard Responds to Severe Weather Damage
ARLINGTON, Va. – Citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Army and Air National Guard are currently responding to damage left behind by severe weather and continual wildfires in several states across the U.S. today.
Story by Sgt. Darron Salsa
In states along the East Coast and in parts of the Midwest, high temperatures and severe thunderstorms caused power outages for millions of residents over the weekend.
More than 750 Guard members from the District of Columbia, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia responded to assist local first responders by providing assistance with traffic control points, door-to-door health and wellness checks, and debris removal.
According to West Virginia National Guard officials, Guard members there have cleared more than 920 truckloads of debris from the storm, as well as assisted with the refueling of back-up generators at hospitals and nursing homes there.
In Florida, where heavy rains from Tropical Storm Debby lingered for several days, approximately 70 Florida National Guard members are continuing flood support missions in parts of the state.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Air Force Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., the adjutant general of the Florida National Guard, visited with residents in the impacted 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 Plains 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 the High Park wildfire was 100 percent contained as of July 1. The Waldo Canyon wildfire was 45 percent contained as of July 1, said a National Guard report.
Guard members are also responding to wildfires in Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Operations in those three states include setting up check points and providing UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi buckets for aerial fire support.