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Maine forest rangers help in hurricane-devastated areas of NYC

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NEW YORK The Maine Forest Ranger Incident Management Team (ME-IMT), mobilized to New York City on Oct. 31, has been successful in helping with the relief efforts for survivors of Hurricane Sandy. For the last few days, the team, made up of seven Maine Forest Service (MFS) forest rangers, a chief deputy sheriff and a communications specialist, has worked in a coastal area of the borough of Queens that was devastated by the storm surge and still without power.

'We have seen a lot of devastated areas hit hard from Hurricane Sandy,' said MFS Forest Ranger Jeff Currier, ME-IMT incident commander. 'We are glad to be here and helping those in need. If the tables were turned, I'm sure our friends in New York would help us with a large-scale disaster in Maine.'

Many federal, state and city agencies are working together to provide much-needed supplies to those affected by the storm. The Maine IMT members are using their expertise in managing large-scale incidents to help organize and distribute much needed supplies such as food, water and blankets.

MFS forest rangers, under the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, also have visited dozens of emergency distribution sites and helped solve problems, such as making sure an engine assigned to the incident was delivered to one of the coastal volunteer fire departments. In this case, the storm surge had ruined the fire department's vehicles and local firefighters had nothing with which to respond to fire and rescue calls.

Despite the evacuation order from the New York City Mayor's Office, thousands of people remain in these areas, trying to clean up the mess from the storm. With the recent colder temperatures, there have been several structure fires and medical calls from people being careless with candles and generators.

The Maine IMT currently is working out of its Mobile Command Vehicle, which is located at the Logistic Staging Area at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Team members fortunately were able to get fuel for their trucks at this location. New York City residents currently are dealing with a gasoline shortage, due to the lack of power at the refineries.

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