Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle last week, leaving a path of destruction through the heart of the state's forestland. The
estimated value of timber damage in Florida is $1.3 billion, impacting nearly three million acres of forestland.
“This is a catastrophic loss to the forest industry in the Florida Panhandle,” said Commissioner Adam H. 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 eleven counties impacted are some of the top timber-producing in the state: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington. Forest products manufacturing facilities, such as pulp mills, saw mills and pellet and Oriented Strand Board manufacturers also sustained damage.
“As the downed forest debris dries, the potential for wildfire conditions increase,” 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.”
A burn ban has been instituted in Bay, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf and Liberty Counties.
The Association is diligently gathering all available information regarding disaster assistance and other aids. As we find relevant materials, we are posting them to our website. Current offerings include a list of Florida's Master Loggers, consulting foresters and timber dealers; information about the burn ban; information about timber casualty loss; a post-hurricane guide to managing pests; the expedited regulatory process for building a wet deck for staging timber; and more.
We are immensely grateful that, despite the tremendous scope of Michael's damage, to our best knowledge all of our members survived the storm with no major injuries and/or loss of life. We are committed to doing everything we can to help those in the affected areas recover to the fullest extent possible.