North Dakota Civil Air Patrol Assists in Spring Storm Recovery Operations

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BISMARCK, North Dakota – Paying an “eye in the sky” to areas covered in heavy snow in northwestern North Dakota, members of the North Dakota Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) captured aerial imagery to support power restoration operations. The volunteers began their flying missions Wednesday after being asked by the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services to help with recovery after the weekend spring blizzard, which knocked down power lines across the region, leaving homes without electricity.

Flying missions over downed power lines and electrical infrastructure, a pilot and an airborne photographer from CAP’s Magic City Composite Squadron in Minot, North Dakota, provided beneficial reconnaissance for Burke-Divide Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) as linemen restore power to homes in Divide County. After assessing the extent of the damage, the Burke-Divide REC was able to determine the labor and supply needs for restoration while road crews work to gain access to the damaged poles.

“Our emergency services department communicates regularly with our local and tribal emergency managers. Over the past month, during two consecutive weekends with spring storms, we have reached out statewide to offer support and an array of resources to help wherever we can,” said Major General Al Dohrmann, Director of Emergency Services. “With their Cessna 182 aircraft operated by unpaid volunteers, the Civil Air Patrol provides a valuable and economical resource. We would like to thank these crews for all they do for our communities.

North Dakota CAP has a long history of supporting disaster response and recovery operations, including after winter storms, floods and wildfires. Although CAP pilots have not been tasked to fly missions in eastern North Dakota for possible flood operations this week, they are on standby to assist if needed.

In April 2021, CAP pilots flew over burned areas surrounding Medora, North Dakota after a wildfire burned thousands of acres and prompted an evacuation there. Using thermal imaging, CAP was able to locate hot spots that were not visible from the ground to help fire crews make decisions and meet resource requirements to completely extinguish the fire.

“Civil Air Patrol has a proud history of serving North Dakotans in times of need.” said Lt. Col. Sean Johnson, Chief of Staff for North Dakota Wing Missions, “Our volunteers are key to our success. I am grateful to them for once again taking time away from family and work to selflessly donate their talents and provide our partners with the imagery-based situational awareness they needed to take key intervention decisions.

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