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DNR helps with Oso landslide efforts

 


For Immediate Release

April 1, 2014

DNR helps with Oso landslide efforts

Geologists monitor the slide to ensure the safety of rescue crews

OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has sent resources-both people and supplies-to aid in the rescue and recovery effort for the SR 530 Landslide near Oso.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends who have suffered such tremendous loss in this small community," said Albert Kassel, Manager of DNR's Resource Protection Division. "DNR is committed to providing all the resources we can to help with this enormous and heartbreaking work."

As the state's largest wildland firefighting agency, DNR is uniquely equipped to provide support and personnel in a number of ways.

As of today, DNR has sent 115 staff members to assist with:

* Incident command (operations, finance, logistics, planning, and communications)

* Geological assessments

* Dispatching

* Tree falling

* Law enforcement

DNR has also dispatched equipment and supplies, including:

* Portable command post

* Field kitchen

* Showers

* Lunch trailer

* Pumps, tents, yurts, propane heaters, shovels, Marsh Master, and other needed tools

Using geology to help with the recovery

Since the first hours of the disaster, DNR geologists were at the scene and flew over the area to create a map of the newly formed terrain using aerial photography and LiDAR technology. DNR is coordinating with geologists from local, state, and national agencies to support the on-the-ground rescue and recovery teams.

"The geology community has really come together to provide expertise and to insure the safety of the crews and volunteers working in the recovery operation," said Washington State Geologist Dave Norman.

To keep the teams safe on the ground, geologists are deploying a wide range of instruments to detect any kind of ground movement, including:

* State-of-the-art, ground-based LiDAR to accurately assess the stability of the slope, provided by Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT).

* 3 "spiders"-GPS units and seismometers-lowered onto the debris field, provided by the U.S. Geologic Survey.

* Survey reflectors in place to determine movement of landslide.

* DOT instruments (extensionometers) to measure tension to determine any movement above the head scarp and the west flank of the landslide.

In addition to the technology, a spotter who is in radio contact with the crews is stationed on the south side of valley with a view of the landslide.

For more information about the landslide, visit DNR's 'Ear to the Ground' blog at: http://washingtondnr.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/sr-530-landslide-questions-answers-about-landslides-and-geology/

Media Contact: Diana Lofflin, Interim Communications Director, 360-902-1023 (office), 360-480-1037 (cell), or diana.lofflin@dnr.wa.gov

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