As state and local agencies continue to prepare for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, Gov. Kate Brown has authorized the Oregon National Guard to deploy soldiers.
The National Guard will stage six aircrafts and about 150 soldiers and airmen ahead of the eclipse weekend, OPB confirmed Thursday.
The eclipse is expected to draw 1 million visitors to the state during the height of summer travel and fire seasons.
Stephen Bomar, director of public affairs with the Oregon Military Department, said the National Guard will provide extra support to local and state agencies that have warned for weeks of the potential for squeezed resources and slow response times because of the influx of tourists.
“There is that unique capability that we are able to bring to the table, specifically with search and rescue and medevac capabilities,” said Bomar.
The National Guard is also preparing to help fight fires if necessary. The eclipse coincides with peak fire season in the state.
Fire officials have warned locals of a heightened potential for fire starts with an influx of visitors unfamiliar with local fire conditions and restrictions.