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Mississippi Forestry Commission sends crew to help with Sally clean-up efforts

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 1:12 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - An Urban Forest Strike Team from Mississippi has been sent down to areas of Alabama hit hard by Hurricane Sally. The 4-person team left this past Monday.

“They’ll be down there through the end of this week and possibly a few days next week, but they went to Mobile on Monday,” said Jason Scott, the director of information and outreach for the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

The Urban Forest Strike Team is a team of foresters and arborists that go into communities affected by natural disasters and assesses damage to a community’s “Urban Tree Landscape,” These landscapes include public parks and greenspaces, areas where communities spend a lot of money and effort on.

“What the Urban Forest Strike Team does is goes in and looks at these trees, and assesses the damage to these trees to basically help the community in their application for FEMA assistance to help rebuild," Scott said.

The Mississippi team will assess whether or not a damaged tree can be saved or if it needs to come down.

“This is foresters and arborists going tree-by-tree in these communities and assessing the damage and coming up with a determination on what needs to be done with each particular individual tree,” said Scott.

Mississippi forestry officials say that sending the team was a great opportunity to help our neighboring states, especially since Mississippi is prone to natural disasters and may need the help from other states one day.

“If and when the next [storm] come[s] through our state, we will request assistance from our neighboring states," Scott. "So, we had the personnel that were trained and had the knowledge to be able to go and assist, and that’s why we didn’t hesitate to answer their call for assistance.”

The Urban Forest Strike Team initiative began in 2007.

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