In The News

Long-Term Health Concerns from Exposure to Wildfire Smoke

With huge wildfires, like the 2018 fire in Paradise, California, and the fires currently raging in Australia, experts are now concerned about the health effects of exposure to wildfire smoke.

The Statesman Journal reported that the proliferation of construction materials and household items made from petroleum-based plastics, ranging from plumbing pipes to exterior siding, add additional dangers. These items burn hotter and generate smoke more toxic than wood creates, exposing people to numerous health hazards.

An estimated 20,000 premature deaths occur annually in the U.S. due to chronic wildfire smoke exposure. That number is expected to double by the end of the century, according to scientists funded by NASA.

Colorado Forest Restoration Project Could Bolster Timber Industry

The Durago Herald reported that a new project to improve the health of 750,000 acres of forest in Southwest Colorado could open new opportunities for the timber industry to harvest more wood and use it in nontraditional ways.

The Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative recently received $50 million in funding to help mitigate wildfire risk and improve the health of the ecosystem through prescribed burning, forest thinning, logging, and other strategies, said Reid Armstrong, communications project manager for the initiative.

The initiative, a collaboration of 30 organizations, is expected to work across public, state, and private land over 10 years to improve the resiliency of forests along the U.S. Highway 160 corridor east and west of Durango.


Researchers Find Some Forests Crucial for Climate Change Mitigation, Biodiversity

A study by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers has identified forests in the western United States that should be preserved for their potential to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, as well as to enhance biodiversity.

Those forests are mainly along the Pacific Coast and in the Cascade Range, with pockets of them in the northern Rocky Mountains as well. Not logging those forests would be the carbon dioxide equivalent of halting eight years’ worth of fossil fuel burning in the western lower 48, the scientists found, noting that making land stewardship a higher societal priority is crucial for altering climate change trajectory.

“The greater frequency and intensity of extreme events such as wildfires have adversely affected terrestrial ecosystems,” said study co-author Beverly Law, professor of forest ecosystems and society in the OSU College of Forestry. “Although climate change is impacting forests in many regions, other regions are expected to have low vulnerability to fires, insects, and drought in the future.”

Law, OSU forestry professor William Ripple, postdoctoral research associate Polly Buotte, and Logan Berner of EcoSpatial Services analyzed forests in the western United States to simulate potential carbon sequestration through the 21st century. Supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the five-year study identified, and targeted for preservation, forests with high carbon sequestration potential; low vulnerability to drought, fire, and beetles; and high biodiversity value.


Marbled Murrelet Lawsuits

The Washington State City of Forks and two Clallam County junior taxing districts have joined a lawsuit that challenges newly adopted state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest management plans.

The three new plaintiffs join seven others named in a Jan. 2 lawsuit filed against DNR. The 38-page complaint alleges that DNR breached its fiduciary duty and violated the state Environmental Policy Act when it removed millions of board feet of timber from the 2015-2024 sustainable harvest calculation and adopted a long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet.


Housing Market Expected to Heat up in Three Washington State Counties

According to Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the number of homes on the market has dropped dramatically in various counties of Washington State: 54 percent in Thurston County, 41.4 percent in King County, and 40 percent in Pierce County.

Homes in those markets are expected to sell faster and at higher prices.

Windermere agent Nick Dahl said the crunch has triggered a heightened interest in new construction, like Gig Harbor’s Cushman Pointe development, which features 51 lots.

Come spring and summer, the hot market will likely mean an uptick in bidding wars.

Redfin, the Seattle-based real estate brokerage site, expects about 25 percent of offers to face bidding wars in 2020 compared to only 10 percent last year.

TimberWest November/December 2013
January/February 2020

ON THE COVER
Photo taken by Mary Bullwinkel of a Tigercat LX830C at a Morris Logging operation in California.

OLC Showguide
The complete showguide to the Oregon Logging Conference

Emergent Technologies
New technology aids fire-fighting efforts in Australia.

Forty Years in the Forest
Steve and Jake Morris are responsible for 40 years of successful business operations at northern California-based operation.

Going Big
Katerra opens CLT mill in Spokane Valley, WA.

Sierra Nevada Stars
California men shire at the annual Lumberjack competition.

Guest Column
Can’t See the Forest for the Dead Trees?

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