Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced the estimated value of timber damage in Florida due to Hurricane Michael is $1.3 billion, impacting nearly 3 million acres of forestland.
“This is a catastrophic loss to the forest industry in the Florida Panhandle,” said Commissioner Putnam. “We are committed to helping Florida recover from this devastating storm and will continue to work closely with the agriculture industry on hurricane-related damage assessments.”
The 11 counties impacted are some of the top timber-producers in the state, including: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington. Forest product manufacturing facilities, such as pulp mills, saw-mills and pellet and oriented strand board manufacturing, also sustained damage.
“As the downed forest debris dries, the potential for wildfire conditions increases,” said Jim Karels, state forester and director of the Florida Forest Service. “It is critical for the Florida Forest Service to continue clearing trees and hurricane debris from roadways to reestablish fire lines and accessibility to timberlands.”
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.