Maine Forest Rangers to Assist with Superstorm Recovery Efforts

October 31, 2012

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Communications Director (207) 287-2531

Maine Forest Ranger Incident Management Team heads to New York

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that he has authorized the deployment of the Maine Forest Ranger Incident Management Team (MEIMT) to New York City to assist in disaster recovery following Hurricane Sandy.

"Maine was fortunate in being spared the worst effects of Hurricane Sandy," said Governor LePage. "We feel privileged that we can send this skilled and experienced team to assist in New York’s recovery." The request for assistance came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement which facilitates member states sending personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in other states.

“We welcome the opportunity to help our neighbors in their time of need,” said Walter Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, which oversees the Maine Forest Rangers. “We are willing to do whatever we can to help in this situation.”

The Incident Management Team left Maine this morning, headed to New York City to manage a Logistical Staging Area in support of the New York City Emergency Operations Center. The team includes 7 Rangers, 1 Washington County Deputy Sheriff and 1 Washington County Communications Specialist. The initial deployment period is 14 days, plus 2 travel days.

The MEIMT is a nationally certified Incident Management Team led by Forest Rangers from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Forest Service, Forest Protection Division. While Maine’s Forest Rangers are specialists in the control and suppression of wildfires, they are also highly experienced in other "All Hazard" incident management, responding to incidents across the United States and Canada. The Washington County representatives round out the team.

Team members include Rangers Jeff Currier (team leader), Joseph Mints, Robby Gross, Kent Nelson, Courtney Hammond, Jon Blackstone and George Harris, Michael St. Louis (Washington County Sheriff’s Department) and Joshua Rolfe (Washington County Regional Communications Center).

Under EMAC, the emergency forces of any state offering assistance to another state are afforded the same rights, duties and privileges as the emergency personnel of the requesting state (except for the power of arrest). EMAC also provides for clear, predictable and standardized operating procedures for member states. The requesting state is also responsible for reimbursing the assisting state for any expenses. Maine was an early adopter of EMAC, and has sent representatives to other states following Hurricanes Katrina and Irene. Other EMAC deployments are possible in the aftermath of Sandy as the affected states determine what their resource needs are. The Maine Emergency Management Agency coordinates EMAC deployments for the State.