Urban Forest Strike Teams

The UFST (Urban Forest Strike Team) project, a disaster response and recovery effort initiated by the Urban & Community Forestry programs in Virginia and North Carolina in 2007, and supported by the Southern Group of State Foresters (USDA FS Region 8) has grown to include regional teams across the US.

Urban Forest Strike Teams evaluate individual trees, street by street in a defined disaster area. In particular, they assess storm damaged trees on public property and rights-of-ways to identify risk, recommend removal or pruning mitigation, and qualification for Federal Emergency Management Agency (also called FEMA) debris reimbursement under its Public Assistance program.

Location specific data assists in storm damage assessment.

Location specific data assists in storm damage assessment.

Teams are primarily composed of state forestry agency certified arborists and urban foresters.  The team members are trained to make urban tree risk and damage assessments following natural disasters.  In many states, municipal and consulting arborists along with Extension foresters and tree wardens have participated as well. 

For example, during the 1994 Ice Storms in Delaware, Extension personnel were called upon to assist emergency response teams that needed immediate assistance not only about language to provide for media coverage, but also tools to provide landowners, land users, and land managers while the storm was happening … as well as to provide help with information for salvage and recovery efforts.  Like the Arkansas and Kentucky ice storms in 2009 to events like Hurricanes Gustav and Sandy, Extension personnel have been called upon to help prepare for and recover from storm disasters. Visit UFST Resources


Urban Disaster Resources Available for Immediate Assistance

Resources to support the development of Urban Forest Strike Teams

 Cost recovery assistance

FEMA Resources to Plan, Prepare and Mitigate disasters

In 2012, Urban Forestry South contracted the Southern Regional Extension Forestry office to develop a set of online learning modules that will provide UFST trained team members with refresher information just prior to deployment.  These modules will help ensure UFSTs are prepared and ready when disasters strike!

Additional Resources

http://www.forestproductslocator.org/  locating primary wood product manufacturing companies

From http://www.urbanforestrysouth.org/:

The International Society of Arboriculture disaster recovery resources

LSU Storm Recovery Guide

Other online resources to assist Extension personnel can be found through eXtension EDEN and at the Extension Disaster Education Network website that provides additional resources for Extension educators.

UFST online Resources

UFST online Resources

contributed by Sarah Workman, University of Georgia