Tree damage prompts clean up

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Severe, spring weather has left parts of the Black Hills Forest damaged. At least one private company is working to clean it up.

Dead trees piling up after weather has broken branches.

A mixture of heavy, wet snow, wicked hail and strong winds have left the tops of trees broken and their branches scattered on the ground.

While the damage is not widespread, David Johnson - owner of The Johnson Tree Company - says there are pockets of devastated areas. Very few commercial logging companies will log in these areas because there are not enough trees to cut down and the wood they can harvest is not suitable for lumber. Cleaning up the forest, is partially aesthetic, but there's a more important reason for the work.

"It's a remarkable increase in fire hazard," Johnson said. "If a fire was to come through and the brush is not cleaned up . . . that affords a fire a ladder to get up into the tops of the trees."

Johnson encourages everyone with private forest land to have a professional clean up their land to help prevent fires.