Updates & Blog

Urban Forest Strike Team deploys to northwest Arkansas for post-tornado recovery

Bentonville, AR — In response to the devastating tornadoes that struck Northwest Arkansas a little over a week ago, a multi-state Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) is being deployed this week to Bentonville. This collaborative effort aims to provide comprehensive tree damage and risk assessments, aiding in the development of an effective post-storm hazard mitigation plan for storm-damaged trees.

UFST assessments will help identify trees eligible for FEMA debris reimbursement as well as those ineligible, ensuring a thorough and efficient recovery process. The team is comprised of dedicated personnel from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, Texas A&M Forest Service and Alabama Forestry Commission, with remote support from the Georgia Forestry Commission.

“The deployment of the Urban Forest Strike Team is a crucial step in our communities’ recovery efforts,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division. “Our team will provide communities with the necessary data to make informed decisions about tree removal and management, enhancing the safety and resilience of Northwest Arkansas’s urban tree canopy.”

About Urban Forest Strike Teams:

An Urban Forest Strike Team is a specialized group of certified arborists, foresters and urban forestry experts who are mobilized to assist communities in the aftermath of natural disasters. A UFST can provide critical services including:

  • Tree Damage and Risk Assessments: Conducting thorough evaluations of storm-damaged trees to determine their structural integrity and potential risk to public safety.
  • Hazard Mitigation Planning: Developing strategic plans to manage and mitigate hazards posed by damaged trees, ensuring community safety and enhancing urban forest resilience.
  • FEMA Reimbursement Eligibility: Identifying trees that qualify for FEMA debris removal reimbursement, streamlining the recovery process for impacted communities.
  • Technical Expertise and Training: Offering guidance and training to local personnel to build long-term urban and community forest management capacity.

Since inception, Urban Forest Strike Teams like this one have responded to numerous natural disasters, providing invaluable support to communities in need. The team’s deployment to Bentonville underscores their important role aiding in the swift and effective recovery of communities impacted by natural disasters.

For more information about Urban Forest Strike Teams and their mission, please visit southernforests.org/UFST/.

Media Contacts:

Chelsea Ealum
Communications Director
Southern Group of State Foresters

Ayden Massey
Public Information Officer
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
(501) 813-6012