Alaska National Guard called to borough to evacuate isolated residents

Symbol of the Alaska Department of Homeland Security
Symbol of the Alaska Department of Homeland Security(Alaska Department of Homeland Security)
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 4:55 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska National Guard has been called to the Alaskan Interior by the Fairbanks North Star Borough in order to help evacuate isolated residents stranded by this week’s winter storm.

While the storm was burying the region, the borough maintained communication with the State of Alaska in case emergency assistance was needed.

In the State of Alaska, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) coordinates efforts toward preparedness, response and relief in the event of a disaster. This includes earthquakes, floods, volcanoes and, over the last two years, public health emergencies.

According to Bryan Fisher, Director of DHSEM, “We are a coordinator of things, and a rolodex, kind of a universal rolodex.”

As the storm progressed, the eyes of the Division turned to the Interior. “We have been coordinating with, all the way from Delta Junction up to the [Fairbanks] borough and North Pole and Fairbanks, and all the way down to Healy, Nenana and the Denali Borough,” Fisher said.

Until the call for the National Guard, the effects of the storm had mostly been handled locally. “I think the Department of Transportation and all of your rural road service area contractors, and certainly Golden Valley Electric have done heroic work trying to respond to this pretty significant event,” Fisher said.

However, the Division has resources ready should they be needed.

These include the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, in case emergency shelters are put up in the borough.

According to Fisher, his department doesn’t get a lot of calls from the Interior, but they’re available if we need them.

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