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The toll on the trees


Houston, a city long defined by its gigantic live oak trees and lush landscaping, is changing for the worse as the relentless, thrashing sun has taken a toll on all things green and growing.

The ongoing drought, which is the worst in Houston’s 175-year history, destroyed the first wave of historic live oak trees this week in Memorial Park and throughout the city, Trees for Houston executive director Barry Ward tells CultureMap.

The once utopian backdrop of Memorial Park has been most affected by the outdoor water restrictions, leaving thousands of trees close to dead. Only approximately 400 of those have been removed, and Ward says a potential catastrophic wildfire could strike if the dead trees don’t get cleared out soon.

“If the timber isn’t removed and someone flicks a cigarette butt in the wrong place, 100 acres could be burned down in one day,” Ward says. “Could you imagine? A 100-acre wildfire inside the Loop?”

Just look at the catastrophic fires in Central Texas if you’re having a hard time imagining it. Please, please, let it rain soon.

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  1. 'stina says:

    They were cutting one of those big oak trees in front of the MFAH when I drove by on my way to work this morning.

  2. […] really don’t want there to be a hundred acre wildfire in Memorial Park, so let’s all be careful out there. This drought is unfortunately going to […]

  3. […] thankfully contained fairly quickly and didn’t damage any county property. And of course the danger of an urban wildfire, too. The question is not whether we should do this, it’s why we don’t already ban […]

  4. […] trees to drag away this year than they would in an average year. This is a lot of money, but then a wildfire in a city park would likely cost a whole lot more. I’ll take the ounce of prevention for $4.5 […]

  5. […] I am firmly entrenched in the urban core mine is fairly low, but given the concerns last year about Memorial Park going up in flames, I’m not going to get too cocky about that. Take a look and see how you […]