18:29 PM

Ore., Wash. Wings Provide Wildfire Damage Aerial Photos

Lt. Col. Scott Maguire
Public Infomration Officer

Oregon Wing

As smoke clears from western Oregon, Civil Air Patrol pilots and specially trained aircrews are flying over areas damaged by devastating wildfires to photograph the conflagrations' impact.

Two aircraft from the Oregon Wing and one from the Washington Wing joined the effort in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Oregon Emergency Management on Sept. 20, marking the fifth day of CAP participation.

CAP is photographing key infrastructure from the air to help assess fire damage. Aircrews are taking on assignments over the Archie, Beavercreek and Echo Mountain wildfires.

Using high-resolution digital cameras, the CAP aircrews produced more than 900 images Sept. 19 for emergency operations supervisors. Eight sorties were flown Sept. 18 and five Sept. 19 as smoke cleared and showers dissipated.

CAP pilots still face tricky conditions in some areas with smoke, low clouds and aircraft not involved of the organized efforts.

CAP planes based in Hillsboro, Redmond and Salem, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, participated Sept. 19. More than 36 CAP volunteers have worked organizing, flying and recording activities.

In addition, CAP has highly trained emergency services personnel imbedded with Oregon Emergency Management in Salem, responding to requests for air support and advising on other interagency cooperation.

“Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the fires,” said Brig. Gen. William D. Betts, vice commander, 1st Air Force, Air Forces Northern. “We are confident in the skills of these selfless, dedicated CAP volunteers who contribute so much to both the local community response and the wider federal effort.”

Acting as a Total Force partner and the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, CAP is aligned with 1st Air Force to rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.