Asheville, NC, September 19, 2018 – The U.S. Forest Service is currently assessing the damage to public lands and facilities across the four national forests in North Carolina. Emphasis has been placed on the Uwharrie National Forest in the Piedmont and the Croatan National Forest on the coast, the two national forests hardest hit by Hurricane Florence.
The Uwharrie National Forest received additional law enforcement support this morning and the administrative office is open. Current closures include specific roads and trails not yet assessed for downed trees, water damage or other impacts from the heavy rains and wind.
An incident team arrived on the Croatan late yesterday evening. A preliminary assessment of the Croatan office and work center found minor impacts from flooding.The team will assess damage to forest roads and facilities, some of which are currently inundated with water. The team will coordinate additional staffing needs to support the assessment operations and to restore administrative services. Helicopter support has been requested for aerial surveys to determine the extent of infrastructure damage. Additionally, satellite data provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been requested to aid the assessment process. Contracts have been established to assist with road clearing and other related needs. Electricity in the area is expected to be restored within the next 24 hours.
All recreational facilities on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are scheduled to reopen by this Thursday, September 20th. The U.S. Forest Service is working with other Federal agencies to assist with recovery efforts on neighboring National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands. The National Forests in North Carolina will continue assessing the status of trails and facilities, forested stands, impacts to red cockaded woodpecker colonies and other sensitive species and archaeological features.
The National Forests in North Carolina will continue offering updates on their Facebook and Twitter accounts along with information on their website at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc