News Release

NPS Incident Management Team Hurricane Irma Update, Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 5 pm

Ferry boat resting on dock after storm damage
The visitor center at Virgin Islands National Park after Hurricane Irma.

NPS/Kristine Brunsman

News Release Date: September 12, 2017

Contact: Mike Litterst, 202-306-4166

Contact: Brent Everitt, 850-934-2612

Incident information
Photos of Hurricane Irma damage and response

Atlanta - The National Park Service Eastern Incident Management Team (Team) is in its third day of operation in Atlanta, coordinating the bureau’s response to parks impacted by Hurricane Irma. Resources are mobilizing and en route to affected parks to support employee emergency needs, conduct damage assessments, and remove debris in the affected areas. The team will relocate its response operation to Everglades National Park on Wednesday. Approximately 75 National Park Service employees from outside the impacted areas are working in the parks or en route, with additional resources expected in the coming days.
Employee accountability and care is the primary concern of the National Park Service, which continues to establish and maintain contact with park employees. Employees at all national parks have been accounted for, with the exception of Everglades National Park, where power and communication outages are making contact with some employees difficult.
Providing for the safety and support of all NPS employees working in the parks is the priority for the National Park Service response to the hurricane. Preliminary damage assessments and response to critical needs of the parks continue.
National park sites assisted by the team are widespread and include all of the national parks in South Florida, the Caribbean, and along the Atlantic coast. All parks listed below are currently closed to all visitor use and access unless otherwise noted. The public is reminded that parks are closed to all use, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, due to safety concerns during cleanup operations. Parks will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
News from the field today:

Caribbean National Parks

Christiansted National Historic Site
  • Cleanup of minor hurricane debris has begun.
  • Additional assessments will be completed when personnel arrive.
San Juan National Historic Site
  • The park sustained minor damage and has reopened.
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
  • Initial assessments will be completed when personnel arrive.
Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
  • Initial assessments will be completed when personnel arrive.
Virgin Islands National Park
  • The park has experienced significant damage
  • Formal assessments will begin as soon as crews arrive.
Buck Island Reef National Monument
  • Initial assessments will be completed when personnel arrive.
 South Florida National Parks
Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Initial assessments will begin as soon as crews gain access to preserve areas.
Biscayne National Park
  • Entry into the park has been accomplished and the headquarters building has been accessed.
  • Initial assessment of structures and facilities has begun. There is minor damage to docks, and numerous trees are down. Arrangements are being made for an overflight to assess the impact of islands in the park, and the park will attempt to get a vessel in the water on Wednesday or Thursday to assist with inventory and assessments.
  • The park remains closed to visitor access, though water transit is permitted.
De Soto National Memorial
  • No damage to park buildings has been identified; some facilities including trails and fences have been damaged.
Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Dry Tortugas was fully evacuated prior to the storm and there are currently no employees at the park; all employees have been accounted for and are safe.
  • The first reports from Fort Jefferson are expected on Friday morning, when the National Park Service supply and work boat, Fort Jefferson, returns to Garden Key from Belize, where it evacuated prior to the storm.
  • Remote transmission indicates there is power at Fort Jefferson.
  • Flights to Fort Jefferson have been suspended stood down due to lack of flight following services and search & rescue assets in the Florida Keys being overwhelmed.
Everglades National Park
  • Priority is accounting for all park employees in the aftermath of the storm. Power and communication outages are making contact with many employees difficult.
  • Park staff have begun initial damage assessments, gathering information that will be used by the incident management team for formal assessments:
    • The Gulf Coast Visitor Center roof is intact, but sustained water damage from the storm surge. Employee housing and grounds in the vicinity likewise suffered water damage.
    • The main road to the park entrance and headquarters at Homestead is impassible due to fallen trees. No report yet on the adjacent Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.
    • The Key Largo Ranger Station and employee housing sustained only minor damage
    • Status of employee housing at Pine Island and Flamingo is unknown.
    • Staff will visit Shark Valley this morning for initial assessment.
    • An aerial image of Key West employee housing shows some visible damage.

Atlantic Coast National Parks

Andersonville National Historic Site (Ga.)
  • All employees are accounted for.
Canaveral National Seashore (Fla.)
  • Some docks in the park have suffered minor damage.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
  • Area experienced significant flooding
  • Initial assessments of park facilities have been complete, but more extensive assessments will be completed as soon as possible.
  • Several trees have fallen in the park.
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site (S.C.)
  • Damage assessments have begun.
Cumberland Island National Seashore (Ga.)
  • Initial assessments have begun and some damage has been identified; additional assessments will need to be completed.
Fort Frederica National Monument (Ga.)
  • Park has significant cleanup efforts to be completed.
  • Facility and resources assessments will be completed as soon as possible.
Fort Matanzas National Monument (Fla.)
  • Damage has been observed at facilities including, the ferry dock and boardwalks at on the landside of the park.
  • Additional facility and resource assessments will be completed when access is established.
Fort Pulaski National Monument (Ga.)
  • The park received near record level flooding.
  • Assessment crews will conduct a full damage assessment as soon as Georgia DOT completes their assessments of the Hwy. 80 and Bull River bridges.
Fort Sumter National Monument (S.C.)
  • The park experienced near record level flooding; there is currently four feet of standing water within Fort Sumter.
  • There is standing water inside Fort Moultrie as well.
  • Full damage assessments will be completed as soon as possible.
Moore’s Creek National Battlefield (S.C.)
  • Park visitor center is closed, though grounds are open.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (Fla.)
  • Damage assessments will begin on Wednesday.
Additional closures exist throughout the Southeast Region, but local park employees are handling cleanup efforts. See the full list of affected parks and updates on the status of these parks.

Last updated: September 13, 2017

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