Forestry Department first responders deploying to Texas

Twenty members of the Virginia Department of Forestry are leaving today to assist with the hurricane recovery efforts in Texas.  The VDOF’s incident management team is heading to the Houston area to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s storm response efforts in the region.

virginia department of forestry“Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc in Texas,” said State Forester of Virginia Bettina Ring.  “Because of our expertise in all-hazard response, the Texas A & M Forest Service requested the assistance of the Virginia Department of Forestry.”

The VDOF employees from across the Commonwealth will assemble at 3 p.m. today at the agency’s office in Abingdon (1240 West Main Street, Abingdon, Va. 24212) to begin the long drive to the Houston area.  The team is expected to be in Texas for two weeks.

VDOF Director of Fire and Emergency Response John Miller said, “Right now, the VDOF incident management team is slated to coordinate resource staging areas across a multi-county area.  These areas will supply water, ice and MREs (meals ready to eat) throughout the affected region of Texas.  But these assignments are subject to change depending on the needs of those most impacted by the storm.”

This summer has been a busy one for VDOF employees as the agency has already sent six crews to the Western USA to help suppress the many wildfires burning in California and Montana.  Since June 1, more than 100 VDOF first responders (a mix of full-time and part-time staff) have been deployed out of state.

Ring said, “We have great people working at the Virginia Department of Forestry, and they care deeply about helping people.  They are a special group of folks who put their lives at risk to help and protect other Americans.  I’m proud of all of them.”

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