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Arborist estimates up to 75 percent of Vinton trees are gone

A pile of brush fifteen feet high and weighing well over a ton stretched about several hundred feet along a dirt road. (Jillian Petrus/Sourcemedia Group)
A pile of brush fifteen feet high and weighing well over a ton stretched about several hundred feet along a dirt road. (Jillian Petrus/Sourcemedia Group)

 

VINTON – City Arborist Jeff Schadle says, when the clean up from Monday morning’s storm is over, Vinton will have lost 50 to 75 percent of it’s trees.

“This is no longer tree maintenance,” said Schadle, “It’s reforestation now, urban reforestation.”

On Wednesday, the clean-up effort continued after Monday night's storm with an endless line of cars pulling up to the yard waste dump site, about three miles north of town. A pile of brush fifteen feet high and weighing well over a ton stretched about several hundred feet along the dirt road. The city closed the area at 7:00 p.m. to let a bulldozer come in and push back the wall of debris.

“It’s twice as big as it was yesterday,” said Mindy McClintock dropping off pieces of trees she says probably didn’t come from her own yard.  “I suppose every little bit helps.”

The city says the dump site needs to stay open for people in Vinton to toss their own debris from Monday’s storm. Meanwhile, the city is working on other areas of the town restoring power and clearing streets.

“It’s critical for the citizens to have a place to go,” says Mayor John Watson. “We good Iowans aren’t going to stop working just because it’s nightfall or another day; we’re going to work till the jobs done.”

Once the wall of trees grows beyond it’s limit, which is expected to happen in the next several days, the city has gotten approval from the Department of Natural Resources to burn the massive pile of brush.

“Everything’s changed. My whole tree management plan is out the door, and we’re starting over from scratch,” Schadle said.

For now, the goal is getting cars in and out and leaving behind as much debris as possible.“We will continue to meet that goal as long as we’re upright, and I don’t intend to lay down too soon,” Watson said.

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