Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 22

*ALL PHOTOS COURTESY THE GEORGIA FORESTRY COMMISSION.

FEATURE

HURRICANE
MICHAEL:

Looking Back,
Looking Forward

By Stasia Kelly
Georgia Forestry Commission Media Relations Specialist

TAKE A ROAD TRIP through southwest
Georgia's Decatur, Miller, Seminole and surrounding counties, and there will be no doubt
in your mind that "Hurricane Michael was
here." Giant piles of debris, uprooted trees
and assorted chunks of siding and rooftops
still decorate the landscape and are expected
to for some time.
Yet talk with Decatur County Emergency
Management Agency Director Charlie McCann,
and one is hard pressed to see this as a "glass
half empty" situation. Despite the ongoing challenge of a monumental cleanup and restoration
operation, McCann credits agency partnerships and personal dedication with seeing this
region through fallout from the October storm.
"We were all in," McCann said of local EMA
personnel, fire departments, Georgia Forestry
Commission (GFC) employees, county commissioners, the Georgia Emergency Management
22

GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Agency (GEMA) and other responders. "We
started meetings and sharing plans while the
storm was still a long way out."
Georgia Forestry Commission Decatur
County Chief Ranger Rodney Heard, whom
McCann has nicknamed the "poster child for
chief rangers," was coordinating resource
staging with GFC's state leaders well ahead
of the storm. Equipment and personnel were
moved southward, and after working several
hours on the morning of October 10, Heard
sent his staff home to prepare; three GFC
rangers rode home with bulldozers.
The storm started hitting hard around
3 p.m. Winds howled by at 125 mph. Lights
flickered. Trees smashed to the ground.
Electricity went out. By 7 p.m., GFC crews
were back on the job, churning first through
their own blocked driveways just to reach the
nearest surface street and their colleagues.

"It took us two and a half hours to go four
miles," said Heard. "It's a miracle no one
was hurt." They worked until 4 a.m., got
three hours' rest and went back to work at
daybreak. "There was no power. We slept at
the GFC unit. The local churches were kind
enough to keep us fed," he added.
Georgia Forestry Commission Area 9 Fire
Management Officer Darren Martin was
staged in Brooks County, east of the worst
hit areas, and began pushing westward. "It
was all hands on deck," Martin recalled. "Our
operators are very well trained and everyone
had a different role. I couldn't have more confidence in this team."
Martin joined GFC chainsaw crews and a
fleet of heavy equipment that spanned out
across the counties, clearing public rightsof-ways and eventually working days on end
without showers or real beds. A state Incident



Georgia County Government - Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Spring 2019

President’s Message
Director's Desk
Ethics on the Edge
Avoid Property Tax Increases by Managing Revenues
EPD’s STAR Program Keeps Georgia Counties and Rights-of-Ways Clean
2019 ACCG Annual Conference Preview
College Underserved Community Partnership Program
Hurricane Michael: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Working with Hard-to-Count Communities
Reduce the Friction with a County-Wide Community Development System
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Intro
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 3
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 4
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 5
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 6
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 8
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Director's Desk
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Ethics on the Edge
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 11
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 12
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 13
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Avoid Property Tax Increases by Managing Revenues
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 15
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - EPD’s STAR Program Keeps Georgia Counties and Rights-of-Ways Clean
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 17
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 2019 ACCG Annual Conference Preview
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 19
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - College Underserved Community Partnership Program
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 21
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Hurricane Michael: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 23
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 24
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Working with Hard-to-Count Communities
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 26
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 27
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 28
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 29
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 30
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Reduce the Friction with a County-Wide Community Development System
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 32
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover4
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