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Drought Causes Fort Worth To Chop Thousands Of Trees

By Susy Solis, CBS 11 News
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of Fort Worth trees have been marked with florescent orange X’s, putting them on the chopping block. This year, the city plans to cut down more than 1,200 trees, more than three times the number the city cut down last year.

The reason? The historic drought, which continues to take its toll on the region –– despite recent spats of soaking rain.

“A lot of it is because of the drought situation that occurred last summer,” said David Creek, who works in the City of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services department.

The more than 1,200 trees were marked because the city says they are a hazard to public safety.

“They are either in walkway areas, by playgrounds, picnic shelters and because they are in those high public traffic areas, they would be considered a hazard for public safety,” said Creek.

But some Fort Worth residents are outraged that the city would spend valuable tax dollars on cutting down trees that have, so far, have not hurt anybody.

“Eagles, hawks, they need dead trees to live in. That wildlife is disappearing too because of human encroachment,” said Jim Varnon, a Fort Worth resident. “I didn’t see any reason for them to be cut down.”

So far the city has spent $380,000 cutting down 530 of the 1,200 that are set to be chopped down. And more trees will surely be on the chopping block once city workers survey another 60 city parks.

Concerned residents say it’s upsetting.

“I think it’s tragic. It’s unfortunate, you can’t replace one once you cut it down,” Varnon said.

Creek said the city plants about 1,600 trees a year to offset this process.

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