Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Hurricane Recovery

Florida's landscape has changed dramatically in many areas and been seriously scarred in others following recent hurricane seasons. Representatives from the Florida Forest Service are encouraging Florida residents to include their yards and property in hurricane planning and preparation.

While devastated landscapes are the most visible and longest lasting affect of a hurricane, many Floridians are unaware of storm preparation tactics for their yards and property. Even less know about where to begin the clean up and recovery process.

After each hurricane season the impact on Florida's urban landscape is clearly visible. Tree damage ranges from being stripped of leaves and leaning to major structural damage. This has prompted many Floridians to remove trees from their yards. This may not, however, be the best decision for the homeowner.

Preparing to reduce property damages is just one side of it. Safety during cleanup is a major consideration. Too many people are seen on their roof in shorts and flip-flops operating a chainsaw - this may be the perfect recipe for disaster.

In addition to the effects landowners experience as a result of hurricane damage, another part of the state that feels the impact of storms are our rural communities. Forest products account for Florida's largest agricultural-based industry, contributing over $16 billion and 137,000 jobs to the state's economy annually. The most recent data shows that in 2004 hurricanes damaged 10 million acres of forests, two million of which were severely damaged. To add insult to injury, fallen timber may become fuel for wild fires increasing the risk of fire from lightning strikes.

The Florida Forest Service is committed to protecting Florida and its people from the dangers of wildland fire and helping manage the forest resources through a stewardship ethic to assure they are available for future generations.