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Trees lost in winter storm

Thousands of trees in the White Hall, Redfield and Hardin area fell in the Christmas Day ice storm, a preliminary survey by the Arkansas Forestry Commission indicated.

“We had a lot of downed trees,” said James Leonard, Jefferson County ranger for the commission, adding many of the smaller trees “will straighten up.”

Key ingredients that lead to the severity of the storm to timber involved the initial freezing rain, followed by very wet, heavy snow, said the National Weather Service. These two elements, coupled with high winds, and trees which had been severely compromised by the summer drought, accounted for the timber loss.

The storm brought down thousands of trees and utility lines, blocking roads and highways.

The downed trees will pose a wildfire danger in the spring and summer, Leonard said.

Leonard said two companies operate “pine plantations” in Jefferson and their trees sustained damage. He said an aerial survey would be the most accurate way to assess the storm’s damage to pine and hardwood trees.

The commission’s Little Rock office was without power for five days.