JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An East Coast National Parks Incident Management Team is setting up their incident command center right here in Jacksonville as they assess the damage from hurricane Matthew across the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Staff members from 27 national parks from around the country are part of the damage assessment team.
They met in Atlanta, Georgia ahead of the storm to plan and then moved their headquarters to the first coast, more specifically, the Timucuan Preserve Center in east Arlington.
Mike Litterst is leading the team. He is usually the spokesperson for the National Mall in D.C. but was chosen to oversee the operations following Matthew. Another leader in the recovery efforts is Katie Lawhon, who usually works as the spokesperson for Gettysburg.
The two are used to coming together for natural disasters like a hurricane.
Though the entire team is stationed in Jacksonville, they will spread their recovery efforts from Cape Canaveral to Charleston. They will work to make immediate repairs and make the parks safe again before they are reopened to the public.
They are currently surveying damage across nine National Parks and Monuments. For example, Fort Pulaski was flooded and Fort Sumpter's sewage system was ruined in the storm.
Many of the historic sites, like Castillo de San Marcos, have natural resources that require archeological experts to review before they are deemed safe again.
Right now, the Incident management team is also monitoring historic sites in North Carolina as the water continues to rise. twii
They plan to have their teams working for at least two weeks.