JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — An Alaska National Guard task force of five soldiers departed Fairbanks, May 12, 2022 for the Interior Alaska community of Manley Hot Springs after the region received significant flooding from the Tanana River, prompting a state disaster declaration on May 7 for the Yukon Koyukuk Regional Education Attendance Area.
On May 6, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the community situated approximately 150 miles west of Fairbanks. The State Emergency Operations Center received reports of active flooding on May 7 and immediately initiated active response operations.
The Tanana Chiefs Conference and American Red Cross of Alaska reported that 45 residents were displaced from 25 homes within the flooded area. The floodwaters have since receded, and community members have returned to their homes to assess the damage and begin cleanup. The community is accessible by road, and all local available resources have been exhausted. The SEOC requested Alaska National Guard support.
“Alaskans are accustomed to severe weather and flooding, but this spring breakup has been particularly challenging throughout the state,” said Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
“The Alaska National Guard is trained, equipped and prepared to provide disaster response support when requested by civil authorities. We are always ready to respond to support Alaskans. This Alaska National Guard task force will work closely with the Manley Hot Spring leadership, state emergency management, and the Tanana Chiefs Conference to support the recovery effort for the residents of Manley Hot Springs,” he said.
The Guardsmen will provide general labor duties to include removing and disposing of flood debris from Tribal, public and government facilities in the community as well as digging water channels to clear standing water. Service members will work under the direction of the SEOC on-scene division supervisor and will support the local community incident command.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, which falls under the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, manages the SEOC. During a domestic emergency or natural disaster, local authorities may request assistance through the SEOC.
State emergency managers assist local leaders in a coordinated effort to provide the necessary resources. Through this process it may be determined that the National Guard’s assistance is needed, and the state will request specific support through the Alaska National Guard Joint Operations Center.