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Tornado Damage Assessment Report - page 4 / 21





4 / 21

Land Use

Acres Damaged

Percent of Total Area



49 %

Agricultural land


16 %

Urban Interface


18 %

Urban/La Plata


17 %


100 %

Initially, emergency tree removal for access was the primary action for rescue missions and damage assessment. Intense tree/brush removal for clean

  • up did not get underway until Wednesday May 1, 2002. Two tree disposal

sites were established by FEMA. One along Radio Station Road in La Plata and a second in King George County, Virginia, directly across the Harry S. Truman bridge. At one point of the tree debris removal it was estimated that 200 trucks a day were hauling a total of 1000 tons of debris to Virginia at a cost of $75,000.00 per day. As of this date approximately 240,000 tons of debris have been removed. Approximately 2000 tons of ash have been removed from the burning site in La Plata. FEMA is investigating the possibility of chipping some of the material; however, the extensive shattering of the woody material may preclude this operation.

The Maryland Forest Service, Charles County field office is very involved with sawlog salvage operations and tree trimming/removal consultation. The Forest Service has coordinated salvage operations with various forest product operators through out Charles and Calvert Counties. A list of Licensed Tree Experts and Forest Product operators has been posted on the Charles County Emergency Tornado Web Page, along with Forest Service contacts and telephone numbers. The Forest Service participated in briefing/planning meetings with the Charles County Commissioners.

The forestland damage is severe. Twenty five sites were visited in Charles and Calvert Counties to assess salvage potential. The path of the tornado destroyed all woodland it encountered. The woodland damage appeared to always involve mixed hardwood stands with sawtimber size trees (greater than 11.0 inches measured at chest height). Another observation was that the tornado almost always followed stream bottoms or low drainage areas once it crested on a high spot. Approximately seventy five percent of the trees in the woodland tracts were damaged, primarily the larger sawtimber

size trees. There was an even distribution of shattered boles and trees that were up-rooted operations are viable, but time consuming and Salvage values are averaging twenty five (25)

trees with broken branches/ and blown over. Salvage dangerous for the operator. to thirty three (33) percent

of the original market value. Forestlan 7,000 to 9,000 board feet of lumber per value of approximately $1500.00 - $2500 composition, site productivity, tree si create the fluctuation in timber values

d in Charles County normally yields

acre, which equates to an economic .00 per acre. Tree species ze and access are variables that .

Salvage operations are recommended and process is tedious. The Charles County salvage initiative by assessing woodlan to landowners. The salvage operation wi Forest land left untreated will regener forest land for wildfire suppression ef damage.

encouraged; however, the removal Forestry office is coordinating a d and providing marketing assistance ll take approximately six months. ate naturally. Future access into forts may be impacted by the tornado

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