News: Guardsmen respond to Washington wildfires
BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota National Guard Soldiers are responding to a request for resources from Washington due to the overwhelming wildfires in the state and West Coast region.
Two pilots, two crew chiefs and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the N.D. Army National Guard's 1-112th Aviation Battalion will respond to the affected area within 48 hours. The Soldiers will remain in Washington to provide support for approximately 20 days, or until released.
"The N.D. National Guard always stands ready to respond to requests for assistance from within North Dakota or from other states," said Lt. Col. David Hall, director of military support for the N.D. Army National Guard. "This serves as an opportunity to help a state that is going through a devastating natural disaster as well as an opportunity for these already qualified Soldiers to obtain even more real-world training, which they can then apply to future missions."
The state of Washington sent a request for additional resources to fight wildfires through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) after their own state resources were exhausted. A number of other states are responding to the EMAC request as well.
According to the White House, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration Monday, which orders federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires, specifically in Okanogan County and the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation, from the period of July 9 to Aug. 5. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is surveying damage to determine if additional parts of the state will be designated for assistance under the declaration.