COLUMBIA -- The South Carolina Forestry Commission estimates the damage to the state's timber resources from strong winds and at least 25 confirmed tornadoes April 13 tops $4 million.
Seven teams of foresters conducted tornado storm damage surveys covering nearly 64,000 acres, surveying plots along tornado paths to assess the damage to the forest resource. The crews found that over 42,000 acres experienced some amount of timber damage; however, SCFC officials estimate that fewer than 4,300 acres received significant damage and will have to be reforested.
The hardest hit counties were Hampton, Oconee, Orangeburg, Colleton, Berkeley, Marlboro, Greenville and Aiken. Although 13 counties sustained damage, these eight accounted for more than 95 percent of the timber losses.
Landowners who suffered storm damage can apply for Emergency Forest Restoration Program assistance from the Farm Services Agency. FSA local offices can be located by selecting landowners' county of residence on the agency's interactive map page or by calling the state FSA office at (803) 806-3820.
"From a statewide perspective, $4 million in timber damage represents far less than one percent of the state's total timber value," said State Forester Scott Phillips. "But for those landowners who were adversely affected, the damage has a very real negative impact. So our focus right now is providing technical expertise to individual landowners and helping them access any federal financial assistance that will be available."
Some landowners may also qualify for the Emergency Conservation Program, which can provide additional help with recovery from storm damage. Please visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/emergency-conservation/index for more information.
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