Hurricane Michael struck Northwest Florida on October 10, 2018. The Category 5 storm cut a path through the Florida Panhandle before moving into Georgia. An estimated 550 million trees in Florida, weighing 72 million tons, were damaged or destroyed by the storm. More than 2 years later the aftermath of the storm is still visible and continues to pose a wildfire threat, which according to State Forester Erin Albury could continue over the next five to eight years. Albury points out that many property owners still cannot afford the cost of removing the fallen timber. “A lot of those landowners simply have just not had the ability to do anything with the clean-up to this point.” Albury went onto say, “We can try to prevent as many human-caused fires as possible, but there are still natural-caused, lightning-strike type fires that are just going to occur. So, there’s only so much you can do to prevent that. At that point, your focus is more on, ‘What can I do to protect my home,’ in the event something like that happens.”
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The Threat of Wildfires Remains from Fallen Timber