Hotshots Cut Down Bicentennial Damage

Bicentennial Park saw extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, the Jackson Hotshots were here to help.

Since Hurricane Sandy blew through, it’s been all hands on deck to get the region cleaned up and running.

With utility workers from across America chipping in and fund drives being everywhere, the rest of the country has been trying to help the region recover. This national recovery effort was on display Sunday when the Jackson Hotshots came to Bicentennial Park, which suffered extensive damage in the storm.

The Jackson Hotshots responds to disasters throughout the country, including 9-11, Katrina and Irene. The 20-person wildland firefighting group responds 24/7 and travels wherever they are needed. This group has been on the road since shortly after the hurricane and hails from Mississippi. It represents the Bureau of the Land Management, the Department of Interior, and U.S. Fire Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

“We travel out of state about 90 percent of the time,” said Superintendent Lamar Liddell. “We make a lot friends and make a lot of people happy.”

The group came after Emergency Management Coordinator Austin Kosik asked FEMA for the resource, which was one the township sorely needed. Despite having it’s own tree cutting crew, the number of trees and poles brought down by the hurricane is overwhelming, and Bicentennial Park saw a lot of damage. Trees were down, landing on and destroying metal benches, the Daisy Center and the bathrooms. Liddell said his crew also removed what he called “widow makers,” trees and branches that hadn’t quite fallen, but could do so at any moment.

 “I saw the available resources that were made to us, so I checked with Mike Reissner, who runs the parks, and asked if he can use additional resources for tree removal,” said Kosik.

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