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State plans to leave tornado trees down

Damage creates new habitat, chance for knowledge

Speakers David Foster, director of Harvard Forest, and David King, a US Forest Service researcher, await their chances to talk with the tornado-downed trees of the McKinstry Brook Wildlife Area all around them. Homes on Pleasant Street are in the background. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
May 07, 2012
SOUTHBRIDGE — The state Division of Fish and Wildlife plans on leaving most of the trees downed by the tornado where they are in the McKinstry Brook Wildlife Area, letting the forest become a new form of wildlife habitat.

According to DFW's John Scanlon, the agency will work with nearby homeowners and the town to provide "an adequate firebreak" and to ensure the downed trees don't create hazards downstream. He said the goal for the former is 100 feet around each home that's "totally clear of fuels" and another 100 feet with "a really reduced fuel load."

On Thursday afternoon, May 3, Scanlon coordinated a group of dozens through the McKinstry woods to a high point that had been cleared for the occasion in the middle of the tornado swath, with a view over to Pleasant Street.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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