Timber industry hit by hurricane will take years to recover

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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TALLAHASSEE, United States (AP) — It could take a decade or more for Florida's timberlands devastated by Hurricane Michael to recover.

Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels told the Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday that not only will recovery take a long time, but there's an immediate threat of wildfires from the countless trees that fell during the October storm.

Karels says about 1.4 million acres had severe or catastrophic tree loss, meaning 75 to 95 per cent of the pine trees were damaged or destroyed.

More than 16,000 private landowners were affected.

Karels said if a wildfire starts, firefighters could have a difficult time reaching the flames because access roads are blocked by downed trees.

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