Canada: Norbord seizes the opportunity to log wood burned in the forest fires

Rod Dillman, a local logging contractor, was the very first to begin logging in Gustafsen, British Columbia (B.C.), according to Woodlands Manager at Norbord, Mike Kennedy, in an interview with 100 Mile Free Press, although logging burned wood does present some unique challenges.

“According to Rod [Dillman], a primary challenge in logging burned wood is the increased maintenance needed on his machines,” Kennedy said. “There is a lot of ash dust which, even more than ‘normal’ dirt, tends to stick surfaces and must be washed off rather than just wiped. It also makes it necessary to change air filters more frequently. Finally, carbon in the ash is hard on the knives used in the harvesting equipment. [Dillman] has also said that they are learning as they go, as this is the first time he has operated in such a large area of scorched timber.”

Fortunately, several factors lessened the effects the fires had on the trees, leaving most of the wood beneath the bark intact.

“Certain species, for example, Douglas-fir with its thick bark, have evolved to withstand the effects of fire, which is a common natural event in the areas where it grows,” Kennedy explained. “Fire intensity was not uniform across the landscape, so in many areas, trees were scorched on the bark only with minimal damage to the underlying wood. Entire trees are not necessarily affected, with more damage occurring in the bottom portion. It is often possible to buck this out with log processors at the roadside. Processing pressure can be increased to remove most of the severely burned bark or wood.”

Norbord, especially, takes pride in their ability to adapt to their surroundings, and “maintains the highest quality standards for our products and these standards are ensured through third-party certification by APA – The Engineered Wood Association,” according to Kennedy. The company has even managed to make use of burned wood in the past.

And Kennedy even pointed out some benefits to harvesting burned wood.

“By putting effort into prepping the soil and making the environment more favourable for planting, it often does mean a fast rehabilitation for the forest. This is not only great for wildlife, water, and the many other environmental services provided by the forest, but also improves conditions and access for the full range of forest users,” Kennedy continued to 100 Mile Free Press. “Beyond that is an added boost to the local economy that comes from utilising forest fibre which would otherwise be left to decay.”

Their largest challenge now, however, is staying safe in forests, especially given the current fire hazard. Until the associated risks have fallen back down to an acceptable level, they are limiting their operations and taking great care of their fire equipment, machinery, water tanks, and more.


Source: 100 Mile Free Press