Irene Cleanup in Northeast Tedious But Steady
One week after tropical storm Irene plowed her way through Maine, Sebago Lake State Park looks a little different than it used to.
The park reopened on Friday (Sept. 2) after crews from across the state cleared a majority of fallen trees and debris in the campgrounds. But there’s still a lot of work to be done, WCSH-TV, Portland, reported.
Songo Beach still has wood chip piles down the water line and cut up tree trunks lying where shadows used to be cast. Andy Haskell, the park manager, says there is much more sunshine in the park than there used to be.
“This may not be quite as pretty as it was before the storm, but it was open,” Haskell said. “And actually, campers are helping out a lot too, because we didn’t get a chance to rake every site, so they’re raking and cleaning up sites and leaving it better than what they found it.”
State crews have worked for over 1,000 hours over the past week to clean up the park.
Meanwhile, on Thursday (Sept. 1), a closure order was issued for all of the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF), vydigger.org reported.
This closure was put in place to protect the public from hazards associated with damage from the recent storm. The closure will allow Forest Service personnel to have time to assess forest roads, trails, bridges, facilities and campgrounds over the holiday weekend. The GMNF and surrounding communities received widespread damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure on Aug. 28.
In an effort to get the forest re-opened as quickly as possible, GMNF Forest Supervisor, Colleen Madrid has ordered additional personnel and resources from other eastern states.
The Maine Forest Service Incident Management Team (IMT), under the command of Regional Forest Ranger, Bill Hamilton, arrived on Sept. 1 to assist with recovery operations. The IMT will be using their experience managing all-risk incidents to coordinate the storm damage assessments and evaluate the risk of injury to Forest Service employees and future visitors.
In addition to the IMT, two separate 20-person wildfire crews have arrived from Massachusetts and West Virginia. These crews will be working to clear roads and remove brush in the coming days and weeks. Additional Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers will also be on the ground to support public safety efforts.