The Idaho Emergency Operations Center at the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security – the agency responsible for coordinating the support – received the request for additional personnel Wednesday afternoon.
At the direction of Governor Otter, over 20 Airmen of the Idaho Air National Guard departed Gowen Field Friday morning en route to the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. They will provide key support to the firefighting operations by assisting fire managers with communicating emergency wildfire closure information to the local population. “These additional resources will help alleviate some of the critical staffing shortages that the forest is facing,” said Chad Hudson, Coeur d’Alene River District Ranger.
This activation is in addition to Idaho Army National Guard personnel and equipment conducting helicopter operations at the Clearwater Complex Fire in north central Idaho and Idaho Air National Guard personnel near Nordman, Idaho assisting with the Tower Fire burning near the Washington - Idaho border.
The Idaho Emergency Operations Center is activated and continues to monitor the situation, process requests for assistance, and issue mission assignments to support the ongoing fire suppression efforts. The activation and the missions are made possible through the governor’s disaster declaration issued Aug. 13.
A primary function of the Idaho National Guard is to respond to state emergencies at the request of the governor. Idaho National Guard operations in support of the Grizzly fire are scheduled to end mid-September (date is subject to change).