March 28, 2018

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Urban Forest Strike Team to Assess Damage at Jacksonville State University

An Urban Forest Strike Team began work March 27 on the campus of Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Jacksonville, Alabama, assessing tree damage following the tornadoes that occurred on Monday, March 19. The strike team will evaluate publicly-owned trees damaged by the high winds, marking them for removal, pruning, or further inspection. The collected data will be used for debris estimation, FEMA reimbursement, and local land fill planning.

Trained for post-disaster assessment of trees for public risk, this Urban Forest Strike Team response consists of three crews of certified arborists representing the Alabama Forestry Commission, Georgia Forestry Commission, Mississippi Forestry Commission, and the USDA Forest Service. Areas to be assessed at JSU include Trustees Circle, land around the Coliseum, and trees near the Performing Arts Center. Trees assessed will be marked with a small paint ‘dot’ that indicates eligibility for FEMA debris reimbursement. Orange indicates tree removal (i.e. extensive damage), while white indicates tree pruning (i.e. broken limb removal).

The Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) is a project of the Alabama Forestry Commission, the USDA Forest Service, and the Southern Group of State Foresters. To date, the UFST has responded to 13 or more disasters ranging from ice storms to hurricanes.

For homeowners concerned about damaged trees on their property, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) recommends hiring a certified arborist with proof of insurance, and warns homeowners to be wary of door-to-door saw crews. For more information on finding a certified arborist, storm cleanup, and tree health, visit the AFC website at, or call (334) 240-9334.

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