The first sale of burned, dangerous trees along roadsides in the Chetco Bar Fire burn scar were sold Tuesday for $1.52 million to South Coast Lumber of Brookings, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday.
The 264-acre Packer sale along lower Chetco River Road to Vulcan Lake and including forest service roads 1376, 1909 and 1917, is projected to garner 9.1 million board feet of timber. Part of the sale proceeds will go toward forest restoration work.
This sale was prioritized based on public comments from people wanting access as soon as possible, said public affairs officer Virginia Gibbons.
Salvaging the timber in the backcountry has garnered a lot of attention in town, with many people saying the proposed amount to be removed from the burned area isn’t enough. The forest service is proposing to cut trees on about 4,000 acres, or 2.5 percent of public lands that burned last summer.
Proponents of the salvage logging say more trees must go so they don’t provide fuel for the next mega fire. It is generally believed snags and old timber left from the 2002 Biscuit Fire contributed greatly to the extent of the Chetco Bar Fire.
The 191,125-acre fire started in the scar of the Biscuit Fire, which was about 30 miles east of Brookings. The Chetco Bar Fire burn scar is 5 miles from city limits.
The next roadside danger tree salvage sale, the 3.9 million board-foot Snaketooth sale, is slated to be advertised June 4 and sell on June 18. It comprises 262 acres along forest service roads 1107, 1107520, 1107580, 1107620, 1983 and 1983030.
The price has not yet been determined.
It is critical to get the wood out of the forests before it loses its market value. Foresters have said they have one to two years before insects set in, followed by rot.
“We are pleased to have sold the first salvage sale for the Chetco Bar Fire,” said Forest Supervisor Merv George Jr. “Our staff has been working diligently to prepare the sales and make them available for harvest in a timely manner before the trees lose their economic value.”
Chetco Bar Fire area salvage sales — in tracts not along forest roads — will be awarded after a decision notice for the Environmental Assessment is signed in June. The public submitted about 3,500 comments before the Wednesday deadline, of which 120 were considered “substantive,” George said.