The California National Guard has been sent to dig out Big Bear from the snow that socked the San Bernardino Mountains over the last week and trapped area residents and visitors at the popular ski resort, with the three main roads accessing the town closed since Friday.
A spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said National Guard personnel left Fresno early Thursday morning, expected to arrive midday to San Bernardino County.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in 13 California counties after back-to-back, record-breaking winter storms swept through the state.
The weather caused power outages and closed off state roads in affected areas of Amador, Kern, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, San Bernandino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Sonoma and Tulare.
Newsom’s proclamation also cites damaging winds, historic precipitation, snowfall in areas unaccustomed to snow, evacuations and stranded residents.
The State Operations Center and the Cal OES have been tasked with response efforts, sending personnel to aid in distributing resources and rescuing those snowed into their homes, especially in San Bernandino County. Cal Fire has contributed support as well.
In a news conference, San Bernandino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey recounted medical calls, responses to fires in trapped vehicles and trees falling through houses, causing collapsed roofs, according to CNN. Munsey reported 100 rescues by Wednesday night.
Over 70,000 homes remain without power late Thursday morning as reported by PowerOutage.us. The National Weather Service expected 12 to 24 inches in the mountains Wednesday.
Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and San Bernandino County officials have been asked to contribute snow plows and road crews to clear up closures along state highways and roads. Cal OES is working to open two shelters for San Bernandino County residents while working with utility companies to restore power.