You can add the Texas timber industry to the list of Hurricane Rita’s victims. The Texas Forest Service says the storm wiped out the timber crop in half a dozen east Texas counties.
The state estimates the hurricane wiped out 771 thousand acres of Texas timber valued at 833 million dollars. Texas Forestry Association President Ron Hufford says damage varies from minor to catastrophic in more than a dozen counties, but about half a dozen counties lost all or most of this year’s timber harvest.
Hufford says the TFA — a private association of forest products companies — and the Texas Forest Service are working together to save as much of the downed timber as they can, but they know they’ll be lucky if they can save 40 percent of it.
Hufford says they have a serious shortage of loggers and trucks for this work because many of the people they usually depend on are in Louisiana and Mississippi clearing timber that was brought down by Hurricane Katrina.