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Thread: Western fires - are trees being logged?

  1. #1
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    Western fires - are trees being logged?

    We have all seen the horrific videos on the news of the various fires in the West. Most recently the one that ripped through a sequoia grove killing thousands. Are any of these dead trees being salvaged? It seems logical to me that this would be beneficial to the environment and could be profitable for some loggers and sawmills.

    So, does anyone know what's happening?
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    Jim Mackell
    Arundel, ME

  2. #2
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    We were recently in northern California and we did see burned areas where they were harvesting the large trees along the road and we saw trucks hauling logs in other areas that showed signs of recent fire damage.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

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  3. #3
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    I understand they have to be felled pretty quickly before rot sets in. Like in one year or less.
    Bill D

  4. #4
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    I seriously doubt that it's something that's on the minds of folks in that area, including those who are in the logging business, at least so far. The level of this disaster has significantly higher priorities relative to recovery. That said, I do hope that some level of timber salvage and production can happen, both to use the resource appropriately as well as to provide funding/cash to the area to help with the aforementioned recovery.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    With Giant Sequoia it is not practical to log it. They tried it decades ago and all they got was grape stakes. Fell a 300 foot tree, made of wood that likes to splinter, and it splits and cracks as soon as it touches down. Coast redwood is shorter and does not splinter that easy so it can be logged.
    They are studying logging of planted young sequoias. Seems to work okay as long as the trees are under 150 feet or so. It is a fast growing tree with good properties.
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    To get a permit to log old growth redwood it can literally take an act of congress. They have to act to get the secretary of interior to form a committee to consider it and hold public hearing in California and DC. I doubt it would be approved before most of the smaller stuff was too weathered to use. As in several years if it goes quickly and there are no spotted owls or California Condors to worry about.
    Bill D

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    With Giant Sequoia it is not practical to log it. They tried it decades ago and all they got was grape stakes. Fell a 300 foot tree, made of wood that likes to splinter, and it splits and cracks as soon as it touches down. Coast redwood is shorter and does not splinter that easy so it can be logged.
    They are studying logging of planted young sequoias. Seems to work okay as long as the trees are under 150 feet or so. It is a fast growing tree with good properties.
    Bill D
    As mentioned above, I spent some time in California recently specifically to see the redwood trees. We had visited California a few years ago and saw the Sequoia trees. According to the National Park Service : The giant sequoia is the largest tree in the world in volume and has an immense trunk with very slight taper; the redwood is the world's tallest tree and has a slender trunk.
    redwood.JPG

    I also learned that the old lumber companies learned quickly that the Redwood trees would sometimes shatter when they fell. What they figured out was that if the tree fell across a lump or a gulley it was likely to break up. Here is a photo of a large redwood that fell across a gulley. Note the shattered wood right at the gulley. If they couldn't build a suitable flat area they would likely leave the tree.
    IMG_5330.jpg
    If it landed on a flat area it would remain pretty much intact, yielding good lumber. So, while they were working on cutting down a tree, they would prepare a flat area for it to fall upon. I saw several trees that had fallen on their own on flat areas that were pretty much intact. The photo below is a section of a fallen tree that fell on its own on a flat area. The piece you see is about 80-100 feet up the tree and is about 6 feet in diameter. The section was removed to open up the trail. There was no visible cracking or shake in the section.
    IMG_5340.jpg
    The Parks, both National and State, do not allow harvesting of mature redwoods. They do allow some harvesting of redwoods within the parks to thin the trees in areas that had previously burned and were over planted with trees and are too dense. Harvesting of large redwoods is still occurring on private lands where they grow.

    One other tidbit of information. Redwood trees are called the everlasting tree, because if the top dies for some reason, the tree will send up a shoot from near the base or from the roots. Redwoods have seeds, but they seldom grow, instead the tree will regenerate from the stump or some other point on the tree. You see many old stumps where there are one or more small trees growing right out of the top of the stump.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 09-18-2021 at 6:42 PM.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

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