Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 24

FEATURE

GFC's Seth Hawkins and Joe Burgess assess urban forest damage
in Albany, GA.
which is retroactive. Documentation is required, including maps
and detailed cost records. The Georgia Development Authority is
responsible for FDMP payments.
* Forest Access Road & Firebreak Restoration Project-Assisting
specifically with fire prevention activities in the 28-county Georgia
disaster area, the project provides for the clearing of forest debris
from existing firebreaks and roads at no cost to the landowner. The
project is designed to create a more manageable situation should
wildfires become prevalent in the region. (Full details about these
programs, for which certain eligibility requirements must be met,
can be reviewed at GaTrees.org.)
Wet weather in the storm-hit area has had a big impact on cleanup
operations. Many weeks have been filled with heavy downpours,
making equipment operations on vulnerable landscapes impossible.
GFC operators are attentive to conditions that could impact Best
Management Practices and have limited work on tracts with poor
draining soils that could be scarred by heavy equipment.
Wildfire Could Be a Wild Card
Wildfire, however, is a major consideration as the landscape dries out.
Current projections call for a "low to normal spring fire season," though we

24 GEORGIA
COUNTY GOVERNMENT
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6/4/18 7:17 PM

all know forecasts can change. With a tremendous amount of fuel still on
the ground, the GFC is taking numerous preventive steps for safety's sake.
Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Protection Frank Sorrells
said some of the agency's fire suppression equipment underwent
repair after taking a heavy beating during storm cleanup. Land and
air resources will be ready and pre-positioned as needed, however,
to mitigate wildfire risk. Open burning and prescribed burning with
permits are being encouraged, and training opportunities with local
fire personnel are being planned. Landowner meetings and special outreach efforts to underscore fire prevention strategies are underway.
That includes best practices advice to homeowners who don't have
forested property as well. The GFC endorses the principles of "Firewise
Communities USA," which recommends homeowners in the wildland urban
interface take steps to minimize risk. They should clear a 30 to 100-foot
perimeter around their residence, removing combustible items and trimming overhanging tree branches. Homes should be clearly marked with a
street name and number for emergency responders. Burn permits should
be secured when burning debris piles or conducting a prescribed burn.
Sorrells is a big believer in learning from others who've "been
there," and has benefited from Georgia's storm-savvy neighbors.
"We can definitely borrow ideas from Florida and South Carolina,"
Sorrells said. "First-hand experience is the best kind of advice when
it comes to hurricanes."
Insects, specifically pine bark beetles, are another important consideration for Georgians with damaged trees. Wind-battered pine trees
that are still standing can be a tasty smorgasbord for bugs. Thankfully,
statewide populations of the southern pine beetle, the most destructive
of the pine bark beetles, are at very low levels, but this could change
with large areas of stressed forests. GFC foresters will begin aerial
surveys in May to help detect any pine bark beetle activity. Even though,
landowners should also be vigilant to spot infestations on their property.
From a distance, pine bark beetle infestations can be identified as the
tree needles change color from dark green, to pale green, to yellow
and then red. A closer examination will be necessary to determine
the exact culprit. GFC foresters can help if a problem is suspected.
Big Value in Performance Reviews
To help plan for future weather events, it's worthwhile to look back
at how authorities and citizens reacted to Hurricane Michael. A number
of systems and strategies employed by public agencies clearly worked
well. Heard and McCann repeatedly credited their close relationship
for keeping recovery efforts functioning smoothly. Challenges that
affected response time or outcomes have been documented and are
being analyzed for solutions. A Georgia Forestry Commission "After
Action Review" was a day-long affair that spawned a number of
improvement tweaks sure to enhance response to any future emergency. The bottom line for all responders has been clear: pre-planning,
training and cooperation works. As does a realistic attitude.
In early October, a 150-acre tract of Mark Coffman's forestland in Early
County was ready to harvest. A 30-minute brawl with an uninvited visitor killed that plan. Now, he and Stephen Martin, who wrote Coffman's
Forest Stewardship Plan, are making adjustments and moving forward.
"This place is going to heal, even though it won't ever be the same,"
Coffman said. Martin then added, "The natural world calls the shots.
We don't."
To reach your county's GFC chief ranger, visit GFC Units by county.■


http://www.GaTrees.org http://www.wi-skies.com http://www.wi-skies.com

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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