Local Forest Service Employees Help in Puerto Rico


PRICE, Utah Nov. 9, 2017 – Three employees of the Manti-La Sal National Forest flew to Puerto Rico Nov. 2, where they will be helping in the response to the crisis wrought in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which destroyed the island infrastructure, leaving people without water, food, or power.

Brandon Hoffman, Orangeville; Varian Allen, Emery; and Michelle Hawks, Moab; are members of an Incident Management Team called out to assist the people of Puerto Rico.

Hoffman, who is the Manti–La Sal Fire Management Officer when not responding to wildfires and disaster, serves as a safety officer on incident management teams. Varian Allen, who manages the Forest’s road maintenance and construction crews works in ground support for incident management teams. Michelle Hawks works as a Geographic Information Services (GIS) specialist on the Manti-La Sal and fills that role on fire and emergency incidents, keeping other team members supplied with accurate up-to-date maps of the fire or disaster area.

The team members are expected to be in Puerto Rico for two to four weeks.

Forest Service employees trained in incident response have helped with such disasters as the Challenger tragedy, Hurricane Katrina, and outbreaks of disease. The Incident Management Team concept was developed to provide physical support, resources and efficiency of operations in the face of overwhelming demands such as wildfires and disasters.

You can learn more about the response to the Puerto Rico disaster at https://www.fema.gov/states/puerto-rico   -USDA-

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