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TimberWest November/December 2013

July/August 2015

Kathy Coatney captures Franklin Logging working at W.M. Beaty and Associates’ salvage site after the Day Fire.

Stone’s Extraordinary High Wire Side
Wayne Stone Logging takes on the challenges of steep slope logging

The First Steps to a State ParkWyEast Timber Services carves out a unique reputation for its ability to handle the difficult projects

California Fires—the Good,
the Bad, and the Ugly

Loggers discuss salvaging from
the 2014 fires

Log Hauling is in the Family Blood
Williams-Ford family restores
the family business

Woody Biomass Column
California’s Biomass Conundrum

Regulate or Be Regulated
Choices regarding operator restraint systems

2015-2016 Buyer’s Guide
A directory of industry products, manufacturers, distributors and services


In the News

Association News

Machinery Row

Guest Column
Russian Timber Companies Plan to Increase Exports of Unprocessed
Timber to the U.S.






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California Fires

California Fires – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With 2015 fires blazing, loggers discuss salvaging from the 2014 fires

By Kathy Coatney

Last summer’s record drought in California led to extremely dry conditions throughout the state—conditions that are occurring again this year. Dry lightning strikes in July of 2014 set off a round of forest fires from the Bald and Eiler Fires in Shasta County to the Day Fire in Modoc County. Combined, these three fires burned over 80,000 acres, and they left large tracts to be salvaged.

Fire Damage

Don Beaty, general manager of W.M. Beaty and Associates based out of Redding, Calif., manages a tract that burned that summer in the Day Fire.

“We lost about 6,300 acres and about 50 million board feet,” Beaty says.

While the loss is significant, it could have been much worse. Beaty said they were fortunate they didn’t lose any plantations, and the saddest loss was to Fruit Growers, their neighbors in the Burney Basin.

“They lost 15, 20, 25-year-old plantations and some even 30 years old,” says Beaty. “With trees of that age, it’s a total loss, because they’re not big enough to make saw logs. You have to virtually start over.”

California FiresBattling the ash and dust was a challenge, but the logs at this site ranged, which ranged from 80 to 130-years-old, could be salvaged.

Salvaging the Timber

The Eiler Fire burned in neighboring Shasta County where Headrick Logging (also out of Redding) worked a salvage operation for Fruit Growers and Sierra Pacific, who lost timber acreage in the fire as well, according to Liz Headrick, co-owner of Headrick Logging.

On the Fruit Growers property, there was nothing to be removed except burned trees, Headrick said.

“Where we were logging it was just barren,” says Jim Headrick. “All the trees were dead, they were burned. And unfortunately there was a plantation that the fire did take out, so there wasn’t much there to salvage as far as green wood.”

The trees on Beaty’s tract were saw-log sized timber. Beaty says those trees tended to be older, but not very old (in the 80 to 130-year-old range) and could be salvaged.

Jim Headrick explains that fire-damaged wood presents another problem. “We did a burn the year before last, and the ash and dust were horrible. The crew was black. The only thing you could see was the whites of their eyes.” Fortunately, the area they worked in 2014 was not quite as dusty and ashy., Because the dust can be a health hazard, Headrick provides dust masks for their employees. However, the majority of their operators are in enclosed equipment.

Weed Control

Reducing brush and weeds is a big factor in reducing fire risk, and Beaty uses the 2012 California Chips Fire as an example.

“Another of our owners lost some plantations in Humbug, which is southwest of Chester, about 20 miles. Because of the weed control we had done in those plantations, the only parts of the plantation we lost were right where the fire came across the National Forest line,” Beaty says.

“We did lose individual trees where the spotting would hit in the needles that were underneath the tree,” Beaty adds, but weed control prevented the fire from advancing further into the plantation, and it ended up going around both sides of it. “We had essentially this sea of devastation all the way around, and we got this little, perky green plantation sitting right in the middle of it.”

California FiresFranklin Logging uses a Link-Belt 240 log loader at W.M. Beaty and Associates: salvage site at the Day Fire.

Harvesting Burned Timber

Time is of the essence in a salvage operation to harvest the trees before the bugs and blue stain take over, says Ross Brazil, northern district forester for W.M. Beaty and Associates.

“We would like to have them out in nine to 10 months, just to be on the safe side,” Brazil says, adding that it depends on whether everyone can hold their production up, and there aren’t any weather problems.

Ross Sanders, president of Sanders Precision Timber Falling Inc., a family run business in Mt. Shasta, Calif., worked the Day Fire for Sierra Pacific, and he agrees there is a relatively short harvest window in a salvage operation. They worked during the winter trying to harvest the site. “It’s a challenge. You’ve got about a year before it starts breaking down, but if you jump on it right away, probably, the wood is still good.”

With the 2014 drought in California, Sanders had expected to be shut down in the summertime because of the fire danger, but that wasn’t the case. Due to the fire damage, it was the opposite.

“We worked until the mills were so plugged up they couldn’t take any more,” he says.

Franklin Logging based in Burney, Calif., also worked on the salvage for Beaty.

“We literally just negotiated the salvage price [after the fire] with Franklin Logging, and they basically walked the equipment out of the green timber sale they were operating across the fire line, and started,” Beaty says.

“It was just that quick and that was in probably the first week and a half, two weeks [after the burn],” Beaty says, adding everybody kind of mobilized to get in there and get most of it harvested.

Tom Franklin, general manager of Shasta Green Inc., Franklin Logging Inc., and Franklin Logging Transportation Inc. in Burney, says they moved all their logging sides into the burn.

California FiresTime is of the essence in a salvage operation like this one at the Day Fire site. Ideally, logs should be removed in no more than nine or 10 months.


Headrick uses a variety of equipment to handle the salvage logging including two feller bunchers, a John Deere 759G, and a TimberPro TL725B. Also on the sites, are a John Deere 2554 and Cat 320C, 320CFM, and 320DFM processors/delimbers. As for skidders, they rely on four Cat skidders, D5Hs and 527s.

Franklin uses similar equipment to salvage, including a Link-Belt 240 with a Log Max 7000 processor, a Link-Belt 240 log loader, and a Cat skidder 525 and Cat 527 track skidder. To round it out, he has a Timbco 425 feller buncher.

The variety of equipment gives them flexibility in handling the terrain and the timber.


During the winter, only the weather could slow Sanders down. “Actually, if it’s cold and it freezes up, then it’s way better,” he says.

Beaty has had the best luck with the salvages that occur in late August, early September, when the trees are mostly hardened off. Those trees will last a lot longer, he says.

Southwestern Modoc County, where the salvage operation is located, doesn’t get heavy snow. “You don’t get the huge big snowpacks,” Beaty says, compared to the higher elevations where typically there is six to eight feet of snow on the ground.

He adds, “While it wasn’t cold this past winter as was hoped for, it was cool. I think the thing that helped us was it was dry for the most part so we could continue logging.” During the one cold snap, they discovered the larger older trees “didn’t break down quite as fast as younger, faster-growing trees.”

They finished up around May 21, before the wood started to deteriorate.

Looking at 2015

This summer the fires are already taking timber, like the Lake fire that consumed more than 30,000 acres. These companies are again gearing up for another winter of salvage. With luck, there won’t be as many board feet of burned timber as in 2014.