ARLINGTON, Wash. – Crew today expect to focus on rescue and recovery efforts, along with debris removal on both the east and west sides of the slide. They’re partnering with local, state and federal responders who continue to assist with rescue efforts, and are joined by two additional National Guard helicopters. More than 65 members of the National Guard arrived yesterday, including 50 members who belong to a specialized search and extraction team.
“Governor Inslee has promised that state agencies will step up to help, and they have in ways that I haven’t ever seen,” said John Pennington, director of the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management. “We are humbled beyond belief, and we’re very grateful.”
On-site geologists continue to monitor the slide area for any changes.
Community groups have also stepped up to provide supplies and monetary donations to the communities affected by the slide. To date, the United Way has raised more than $75,000 to support those affected by the slide; local businesses including Home Depot and Costco have generously provided donations to residents of Darrington as well.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s office has two officers stationed in Darrington 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the community, along with local first responders. The state Department of Licensing is also expected to be in Darrington from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday to help reissue driver’s licenses to those affected by the slide.
Today, Community Transit expects to announce the start of emergency bus service to and from Darrington; this will connect residents with Skagit County, as well as with Arlington and Everett. More details will be available at www.communitytransit.org.
Additionally, Snohomish County in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, expects to open the Mountain Loop Highway as early as 1 p.m. today. This is a very primitive roadway, normally closed to traffic in the winter. Many locations are one-way with pull outs, and the road has a maximum speed limit of 25 mph. It is not suitable for freight traffic. Drivers are used to urge caution as they drive through the area.
A crisis care hotline is also now available for those in the community who have been affected by the landslide. That number is 1-800-584-3578, and it is staffed around the clock to provide counseling and crisis intervention.