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Ike Update From TPWD: State Parks Host 4,600 Evacuees, Game Wardens Conduct Search and Rescue
6 p.m. CDT — Update 5
Below is information sent by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the Governor’s Press Office today. The governor’s office is coordinating official communication about Ike for the State of Texas, including TPWD activities. The following information is provided as a service and convenience for TPWD’s audience. For complete information, see the Texas governor’s web site at http://governor.state.tx.us/, or news media may phone the press office at (512) 463-1826.
Texas Game Wardens/TPWD Law Enforcement Division
- TPWD has more than 180 game wardens and associated boats and equipment deployed in Southeast Texas. In addition, seven strike teams of 10 game wardens and one captain each have assembled from regions across the state, and those 70 wardens are ready to deploy tomorrow and be self-sustaining for five days when activated by the State Operations Center. All 500 game wardens statewide are preparing to deploy if needed.
- Game wardens were active in four main geographic areas today: Galveston, Beaumont, Orange and East Harris County.
- Capt. Rod Ousley of the TPWD Beaumont office and eight game wardens worked in Bridge City and Orange mid-day with airboats and had completed more than 50 rescues by 4 p.m.
- Strike Team One, a team of about 30 game wardens from outside coastal regions formed days ago, is traveling east on I-10 close to Beaumont at this hour to meet with coastal game wardens at the Ford events center and prepare to enter the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange area for search and rescue in the morning.
- In Galveston, game warden teams patrolled and searched residential areas, using boats to navigate flooded streets in some cases. Game wardens were among the first responders to reenter Galveston today, part of a large and diverse multi-agency force.
Texas State Parks
- At 5 p.m. today, 32 Texas State Parks remained closed due to Ike. Several previously closed parks in Central and South Texas have reopened. For the current list of park closures, see the TPWD Web site (tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/parkinfo/hurricane).
- Also as of 5 p.m., a total of 4,673 evacuees have been given shelter free of charge at 45 state parks outside the hurricane’s path. Evacuees from storm-damaged areas are allowed to tent camp or stay in RVs or campers at no cost in Texas State Parks, and they may stay in cabins or screen shelters at discounted rates. The latest information on parks closed or accepting evacuees is available through the TPWD Web site (tpwd.texas.gov/site/emergency). The public can also phone individual state parks to see whether a park is closed or accepting evacuees.
- Damage assessments for the State Park Division are beginning to come in but are at this time incomplete. Although the full picture is not known, it appears Southeast Texas state parks sustained the most damage, where seven parks have reported significant impacts. Stephen F. Austin and Brazos Bend sustained substantial losses of trees without damage to infrastructure. San Jacinto Battleground, Village Creek and Huntsville sustained wind damage to trees along with varying degrees of structural/infrastructure damage. As many as 11 additional parks appear to have suffered various types of minor damage. No loss of life or injuries have been reported for the State Parks Division. However, Ike was still impacting parks in Northeast Texas at 6 p.m. On Sunday, response teams are scheduled to deploy to affected areas, inspect and report damage.
- The Coastal Fisheries Division, which maintains multiple offices, boats, laboratories and fish hatcheries on the coast, appears to have weathered the storm without major damage, although reports are preliminary and incomplete. The condition of TPWD’s Dickinson office complex is unknown. Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson sustained minor damage but appears to be in pretty good shape overall. So far, there are no reports about field stations and facilities in Palacios and Port O’Connor. Offices and facilities in Rockport, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville are all fine.
On the Net:
- TPWD Emergency Information: http://tpwd.texas.gov/site/emergency/
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