Thousands of acres of damaged Davy Crockett National Forest to be harvested after tornadoes

Thousands of acres of damaged Davy Crockett National Forest to be harvested after tornadoes

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Thousands of acres of trees in the Davy Crockett National Forest will need to be cut down and harvested due to damage done to them by tornadoes that swept through the area on April 13.

Wind speeds up to 206 miles per hour toppled trees and left limbs hanging in other trees. Some of the timber can be salvaged.

Ranger Lanton Chumley, the acting district ranger for Davy Crockett National Forest said, "We're estimating right now anywhere between 4500 to 6,000 acres. Hopefully, we can get anywhere between 50 and 60% of that."

“We’re against the clock already, with the time of these storms, whenever they hit” said Chumley. “Hopefully it’s getting into a drier season; things will start drying out. This wood won’t last a whole lot longer.”

If the timber is left untreated too long, Chumley said it becomes ‘blue-stained’; a blue tint which signals to some mills that the wood is unusable.

Quality is lost. That’s less return for loggers wanting to bid on the salvage sales.

"Hopefully (we will) have some salvage sales out on the market within the middle part of May and the last part of May,” said Chumley. “Hopefully these folks can get in there and start picking some of this stuff."

Loggers are anxious to make bids, but they’ve been plenty busy clearing highways in and out of communities, while also helping-out property owners.

The number one challenge on the job when trees are tangled like spaghetti is just building the road and plowing your way thru.

Aubrey Sturrock of Sturrock Logging is busy with a client.

"It's almost a mile to his property where he has his cows and timber he's grown for years,” said Sturrock. “And we're just trying to get road opened up and get thru it."

Sturrock says his client lost timber he wasn't planning to harvest for 7 more years.

"This is some people's lives. They grow timber for a living. He wanted to use it for his retirement."

Private lands to national forests were hard hit. The salvage process is likely to continue thru October. The forest recovery will take years.

The U.S. Forest Service is conducting an information meeting for the public and loggers.

Forest officials estimate the tornadoes damaged some 4,700 to 6,000 acres of forest land. (Source: Donna McCollum/KTRE)
Forest officials estimate the tornadoes damaged some 4,700 to 6,000 acres of forest land. (Source: Donna McCollum/KTRE)

Private lands to national forests were hard hit. The salvage process is likely to continue thru October. The forest recovery will take years.

The U.S. Forest Service is conducting an information meeting for the public and loggers.

It will be April 30 at the Davy Crockett National Forest ranger station on Highway 7, just west of Ratcliff.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. an open house will provide an opportunity for one-on-one discussions with rangers.

From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. a formal presentation and question-and-answer session will be conducted.

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