Friday, October 5, 2018

Fish and Wildlife Personnel Evacuated

By Karen Robes Meeks

Four US Fish and Wildlife personnel have been evacuated off Johnston Atoll on Monday before the arrival of Hurricane Walaka, according to the US Coast Guard.

The four members of a field biology crew were working out of a year-round field camp on the Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. They were picked up by a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point.

"Johnston Atoll is extremely remote and difficult to reach. Our resources place us in a position to lend assistance to our partners with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and we are glad [to] help,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. “We encourage anyone operating in the Pacific to keep an eye on the weather as this storm moves toward the Northwest Hawaiian Islands."

Johnston Atoll is in the central Pacific Ocean, between the Hawaiian Islands and the Line Islands.

"The safety of our staff and volunteers is always our primary concern," said Laura Beauregard, acting Refuge and Monument Supervisor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. "We are grateful to our partners, US Coast Guard, for their assistance getting our folks back to Honolulu from one of the most remote field camps in the Pacific."