Five months after the Barry Point fire burned a wide 93,000 acre swath through the Fremont-Winema forest, local District Ranger Amanda McAdams and Robin Shoal from the Olympia National Forest came in front of the Lake County Board of Commissioners during their work session on Tuesday, Jan. 22 to update them on the state of timber salvage from the site.
“I feel good. We’ve made some progress,” McAdams told the commissioners. “We’ve had a huge commitment from the regional down to the district level.”
In order to clear out the burned out areas so that new growth can begin and replenish the forest, the district is working with Collins Companies and the Fremont sawmill in Lakeview to haul away timber for production. The salvage has been underway since last September and has been only one part of the effort to rehabilitate the forest as quickly and responsibly as possible. The Forest Service is also working to clear roads and mend fences left ruined in the wake of the fire.
McAdams said that they have 10 to 12 people on their salvage team and moving to remove hazards from roads of a usability level two through five. “The purpose is to get the salvage done so we can set a precedent that we can do it so it wouldn’t impact the value of the timber,” she said to the board.
Collins Companies has been working on moving the blackened timber out of the area for months, all too aware that value depreciates for the wood as time passes. Commissioners Brad Winters and Ken Kestner asked after a timeline, recognizing that there would reach a point when it would not be worth Collins’ time to transport the devalued timber.