Wildfire command post stands up at March

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman David K. Flaherty
  • 452nd Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Army North Command set up an operational command post Oct. 24 here to provide command and control for all Department of Defense forces who are scheduled to arrive in the area to combat the southern California wildfires that have devastated the state.

March Air Reserve Base has been designated the forward operating staging area for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"When an incident of national significance occurs, and there's a requirement for DOD forces, we come in and act as the command and control element," said Lt. Col. James Skidmore, operations officer for USARNORTH. "Whether those forces are setting up shelters, bringing in (food) and cots or even doing the fire fighting, once we arrive at a deployed location, we're ready to go."

USARNORTH, which is deployed from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is a land-based response force that conducts homeland defense and civil support operations in the continental U.S. The command is working closely with Federal Emergency Management Agency to make sure they have the tools and manpower they need to put out the fires.

"FEMA is the lead agency right now," said Col. James M. Kennedy, chief of staff for the USARNORTH. "Our main job is to support them by providing services and equipment from other state or federal agencies."

Colonel Skidmore praised the state's response efforts to the fires. Once called upon, he said his agency is ready to react.

"California's National Guard and emergency response teams have been doing a really great job," he said. "And we are ready to support them as they need us." 

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