BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Air National Guardsmen from the 195th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group have been aerial imagery support to agencies battling fires in the California since Nov. 8, here.
The 195th ISRG team, known as a processing, assessment, and distribution (PAD) cell, have continued their support since their activation last week by Gov. Jerry Brown. The Airmen analyzing video and other intelligence collected on the Camp and Woolsey Fires.
“We are using imagery analysts to look at full motion video coming from medium altitude assets supporting the fire,” said Tech. Sgt. Roy Davis, 234th Intelligence Squadron intelligence analyst. “Our analysts are looking at that and doing damage assessment. They are also doing fire perimeter support, so ground agencies have an idea of how big the fire is, where it is at, and whether or not is breaching.”
According to Davis, there are also fusion analysts going through other forms of intelligence, including social media, online data, and info collected by responding agencies.
All of this isn’t possible without the help of communication troops in their units and in other cooperating agencies.
“We give comm support, whether it is maintaining the internet network, fixing technical issues, or installing software on the computers,” said Staff Sgt. Olivia McCray, 222nd Intelligence Support Squadron communication support. “We are also out in the field doing the same thing so the pilots can communicate to the different platforms.”
The team of analysts are working with a variety of local and national civilian and military agencies, including the Army National Guard, the Air Force Reserve, CAL FIRE, and California Office of Emergency Services.
“It is not just the state of California using its agencies,” Davis said. “It is really a national effort at this point.”
According to CAL FIRE, the Woolsey Fire has killed 3 people, destroyed approximately 500 structures, and is 57 percent contained. The Camp Fire has killed 56 people, destroyed approximately 9,000 structures, and is 40 percent contained. The Camp Fire is now the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.
“There has been so much loss and with that an element of emotions,” Davis said. “As guard members we are civilians most of the month, but to be able to step into a full-time function and know we are supporting people who are members of our community is a humbling experience.”