May 5, 2017

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Urban Forest Strike Team Exercises in Mobile

      The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) will host the Urban Forest Strike Team as they participate in the 2017 Governor’s Hurricane Exercise on May 8 and 9 in Mobile County. A total of 24 tree care professionals representing seven Southeastern states will hone their skills in disaster response and recovery, tree risk assessment, and delivering tree damage information for FEMA Public Assistance.

      The event marks the first time the Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) has trained in Alabama and the first time the training has been held in conjunction with a statewide exercise. This combined training will not only build a stronger relationship between the UFST and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), but also test the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). The EMAC allows arborists outside of Alabama to assist within the state following a major disaster. Will Liner, Urban & Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator for the Alabama Forestry Commission, commented, “The Urban Forest Strike Team wants local community leaders to know that the UFST is available and that they should request help from the AFC when trees are damaged. This service by trained professional arborists can make your urban trees safer for the public, reduce the debris going to landfills, and improve the accuracy of estimates for FEMA resource requests, which can save millions in a large-scale disaster.”  

      The Urban Forest Strike Team was developed in 2007 by the USDA Forest Service and several Southeastern states in response to problems experienced during major natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of the hurricane, they found that recovery crews and volunteers were often unable to properly evaluate tree damage and risk. By enlisting the help of tree care professionals, the USFT strives to assist disaster stricken communities who have little or no urban forest management staff. The strike team provides data to the community and aims to reduce unnecessary loss of tree canopy, increase public safety, plan an efficient and cost effective recovery, and document recovery needs and costs for FEMA reimbursement.



  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
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