Residents who live in the wildfire-ravaged area of Possum Kingdom Lake can receive free trees later this month thanks to a donation from Texas Garden Clubs.
In April 2011, 126,000-acres surrounding the lake were consumed by a wildfire that caused an estimated $100 million in damages and destroyed 168 homes. On Dec. 15, the Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Garden Clubs will partner to re-green the area by distributing 100 free trees to residets of The Cliffs and Sportsman's World communities
“These communities were devastated by the 2011 wildfires,” said Forester Courtney Blevins. “We want to give them some hope and help them re-green the area surrounding their homes.”
Blevins said the species of trees to be given away, live oak, lacey oak and cedar elm, were chosen because they are hardy and not highly flammable. Additionally, the groups will hand out information about fire-resistant landscaping when residents pick up their trees.
The trees were purchased with funds donated by Texas Garden Clubs and will be distributed by officials with Texas A&M Forest Service. Volunteers from the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council and reTREEt America will be on hand to assist residents who need help planting their trees.'
Blevins added that residents should strategically consider where to plant the trees, considering the proximity to the home and distance from other trees with respect to reducing the spread of future wildfires.
Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11 a.m. at The Cliffs in Graford and at noon at Sportsman's World in Strawn. Residents are not required to show proof of residency or pre-register.
In Bastrop, near Austin in South Central Texas, volunteers gathered last weekend to begin planting 550,000 seedlings after a historic wildfire consumed nearly 95 percent of the state park's trees -- including most of the 6,600-acre park's signature "Lost Pines." Planting at Bastrop State Park is expected to take several months.