The California Air National Guard brought an ABC10 News crew on a flight to survey the damage in Northern California.
Over the last week, the California National Guard has deployed more than 2,400 soldiers, or about 10 percent of the state’s National Guard force, to aid in disaster zones across the region.
This unusual presence is due to the unprecedented and ruthless flames that have ravaged more than 240,000 acres in Northern California, according to California National Guard spokesman, Captain Will Martin.
“The big focus right now is a lot of search and recovery and just helping on the ground,” Martin said. “We still have a lot of flights out, we have dropped 700,000 gallons of water and retardant so far since the Northern California fires began.”
Flying on an Air National Guard Pave Hawk, ABC10 News crews saw the cities of Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Rosa overhead. Video of the damages shows sprawling damages to homes, vehicles and business. Many homes in the city of Santa Rosa have been startlingly reduced to ash.
“It’s gonna be a tough road back. We are very focused obviously on putting out the fires and also helping people in the immediate time,” Martin said. “But this is going to be a huge recovery effort, this is going to be a long road for us. When I say us, I mean all of California.”
The California National Guard is aiding local authorities by providing ground security, traffic control, and aiding in search and recovery operations. In the air, the Guard is helping Cal Fire and other multiple agencies contain and halt the fires.