June 20, 2012
by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers
Record Wildfires Burn Federal Forests: Two state’s worst wildfires in recorded history burned concurrently in June. As of June 18th, the 54,000 acre High Park Fire in Colorado’s Arapaho-Roosevelt Nat. Forest had destroyed 181 homes and killed one resident, ranking it as the state’s most destructive fire. The 297,000 acre Whitewater-Baldy Fire in New Mexico’s Gila Nat. Forest remained uncontrolled. Thousands of firefighters, machinery and aircraft still battled both fires in mid-June. A second 38,000 acre NM fire ignited on the Lincoln Nat. Forest destroyed 224 homes.
Logging Association Vandalized: The Washington Contract Loggers Association office building was vandalized one night in June, apparently by anti-forestry criminals. Located in Olympia, WA, 26 windows were broken in the building, and a message was spray-painted on an outside wall, “You’re Never Safe. Go Log In Hell.” Additional graffiti leads law enforcement to believe that the perpetrators are anarchists who oppose logging. The crime occurred on June 11, declared by anarchists to be the second anniversary of their so-called ‘International Day of Solidarity.’
Slow Industry Recovery: Roseburg Forest Products President Allyn Ford—in his 9th “state of the timber industry” address delivered in May—said that unless SW Oregon’s timber industry slips this summer, this year should bring a slow recovery. Although, the industry remains plagued by a poor US housing market—made worse by tight lending for business—housing construction and wood product demand is projected to slowly improve in the next three years. His speech noted four unpredictable factors impacting future forest sector recovery: insufficient federal timber supply; fickle China demand for logs/lumber; volatile exports & competition; shortage of skilled workers.