By LIBBY CLUETT
POSSUM KINGDOM LAKE – The many, massive wildfires of 2011 ravaged communities surrounding scenic Possum Kingdom Lake, burning more than 126,000 acres and destroying 168 homes and countless trees and plants.
Recovery has been ongoing and continues this month, with an event planned to help restore the area’s landscape.
Texas A&M Forest Service, formerly the Texas Forest Service, is partnering with Texas Garden Clubs on Saturday, Dec. 15, to distribute 102 free trees to residents of The Cliffs and Sportsman’s World communities. The giveaway begins at 11 a.m. at The Cliffs, 160 Cliffs Drive, Graford, and at noon at Sportsman’s World, 6020 Hell’s Gate Loop, Strawn.
“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.”
Strategic landscaping can help reduce the spread of wildfire, so it’s key for residents to consider proximity to the home and spacing between trees when planting on their property, Blevins added.
“We chose these species – live oak, lacey oak and cedar elm – to give away because they are drought hardy and not highly flammable,” Blevins said.
Purchased with funds donated by the Texas Garden Clubs, the 5-gallon trees will be distributed by officials with Texas A&M Forest Service. Blevins said foresters and volunteers from the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council’s “Citizen Foresters” and reTREEt America will be on hand to offer planting advice and to help plant trees for any residents unable to do so themselves.
The trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents are not required to pre-register or provide proof of residence. For more information, contact Blevins at email@example.com or (817) 531-3119.
“This is an excellent time to plant trees in our part of the country,” he said. “The roots will start growing even though the trees are dormant and this will give them a great head start when the heat of summer kicks in.”