Wildfires that engulfed more than 50,000 acres of Louisiana forests during this summer’s record-breaking heat and drought dealt a blow of at least $71 million to the state’s timber sector, according to LSU AgCenter estimates. That figure is expected to climb higher as wildfires continue to burn in some areas. A total of 52,883 acres of forests statewide had burned as of mid-October, says Robbie Hutchins, an area forester with the LSU AgCenter. Most of that timber would normally be worth at least $1,500 per acre, and little of it is salvageable now. Conservatively, Hutchins estimates 75% of trees on burned acreage are a total loss or considerably devalued, amounting to a loss of about $60 million. But the percentage of unsellable timber is likely closer to 90%, he said, putting the loss estimate at $71 million. …Timber is Louisiana’s No. 1 agricultural commodity, generating more than $10 billion yearly in economic activity.