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Texas Forest Service releases economic impact estimates on Dyer Mills, Bearing fires

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Significant damage to forest land, timber and the environment was reported on two major Texas fires this week, causing estimated losses that total millions of dollars.

The Dyer Mill Fire in Grimes County burned 5,280 acres, and along with the heavy toll to people and property, the fire also had profound impacts to the region’s forest sector.

The total stumpage value of timber destroyed by the Dyer Mill fire ranges from $2.5 to $3.6 million. Forest Inventory and Analysis data indicates total volume of timber lost ranges from 4.7 to 6.7 million cubic feet.

“The lost timber volume could have been used to produce forest products such as lumber, plywood and paper products worth a total of $53.5 million,” said Chris Edgar, a forest resource analyst with Texas Forest Service. “That level of forest industry economic activity could have supported a total economic activity in East Texas of $92.7 million.”

Additionally, the Bearing Fire in Trinity and Polk counties – the largest fire in East Texas history – burned more than 23,000 acres, with an estimated stumpage value of timber destroyed at $12.8 million to $18.3 million.

The lost timber volume on the Bearing Fire could have been used to produce forest products worth a total of $243.5 million.

The Bearing Fire may have short- and long- term effects on local timber markets. In the short term, timber prices could drop if any significant salvage, however unlikely, occurs due to an increase of timber entering into the market.

The value of timber ranks first among the top agricultural commodities, and the wood-based industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Trinity County. Forest industries directly contributed $48 million of industry output to the Trinity County economy in 2007, employing 190 people with a payroll of $7.6 million.

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