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Time to Bring in the Pros to Log Out the Paradise Camp Fire’s Dead Trees

Logging may be part of Paradise, Magalia fire cleanup

The Fire Safe Council conducted a survey based on a number of datum points throughout Paradise and Magalia, and determined 81 percent of the large conifers — 12 inches or more in diameter at breast height — were killed by the fire. That amounts to 443,000 dead trees, and that’s just the larger hazard trees, within 300 feet of residences.

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  • John Venlet April 12, 2019, 4:42 AM

    Those 443,000 trees, will make a lot of sticks, as my lumber selling friend would say.

  • Gordon Scott April 12, 2019, 5:33 AM

    In Minnesota those trees would become habitat, which is a fancy word for where animals live. Lots of animals find a downed tree to be useful. But the wildlife density is much lower where you are.

    About 20 years ago we had what fancy-pants TV weatherpeople call a derecho. That’s a wide, bow shaped line of really fast moving thunderstorms. It formed near Fargo, and rolled across Minnesota, and knocked down millions and millions of trees. It continued east. 18 hours after it left the state one could still see it on radar in the northeast.

    Up in the Boundary Waters people canoe, portage and canoe some more. They couldn’t get out. They had to cut their way in to clear paths for folks to come out of the park. Otherwise, they left things alone, mostly. There have been some fires in dry years.

  • tim April 12, 2019, 5:47 AM

    Bunch of toxic masculinity all rolled into a giant ball of white privilege slaughtering Earth’s sacred tree’s. Oh the humanity.

    Love that shit, what a way to start a Friday morning, thank you Sir.

  • Marica April 12, 2019, 6:44 AM

    “datum points”

    In all of my years, and they are considerable in number, thinking and reading statistics stuff, I do not believe I have ever seen that construction. Channeling James J. Kilpatrick, it offends my ear. Is ‘datum’ modifying ‘points’? If so, shouldn’t the two words agree in number?

    “conducted a survey based on a number of datum points throughout Paradise and Magalia… ”

    So they sampled. Maybe I should go read the whole thing.

  • ghostsniper April 12, 2019, 7:00 AM

    Move em outta the way, then let em stay.
    Pine rots fast and fertilizes the forest floor while providing habitat for animals.
    When the residents rebuild they can burn the pine in their back yard fire pits.
    Pine isn’t the best for such things but it’s free.

  • Marica April 12, 2019, 7:03 AM

    Re. Phase 3. This is rich:

    It will be a “model forest,” Broshears said, “and that model hasn’t been developed.”

  • Sabre22 April 12, 2019, 7:43 AM

    Well DUUHHHH. Have logger clear out the dead and down trees Who woulda THUNK IT.

  • DAN April 12, 2019, 8:07 AM

    sounds like time to restore the old rail line & get them logs to the mill. OH mill not there, damn probably no diamond match either. going to need a rail line to haul all the burnt metal to recycle plant wherever it is, frisco,sacto ??

  • BillH April 12, 2019, 8:29 AM

    Leave it alone, change the name of the town to Deadwood, and get Disney to make it into a tourist attraction. Cheaper, and revenue producing. The people already left anyway and probably won’t be coming back.

  • Rick April 12, 2019, 8:40 AM

    I see mountains of biomass in the future. They’ll be lucky to recover 10% of that as useful lumber and may have to pay loggers a premium to harvest it at all. Beetles and other bugs will have it ruined in no time.

  • captflee April 12, 2019, 8:53 AM

    Well, at least they’re not burying them in the landfill, which is what happens to the preponderance of hurricane losses here.

  • OD April 12, 2019, 9:22 AM

    Automatic electric defibrillators ? Nahhh ! Just play LaGrange, w/ speakers at 11

  • Elmo April 12, 2019, 10:52 AM

    CALFire and the Board of Forestry are attempting to do fuel reduction projects and are complaining about the delays caused by CEQA (California Evironmental Quality Act) regulations. It’s funny they haven’t had a problem over the last 40 years when every Licensed Professional Forester had those same problems every time they attempted to do a harvest plan.

  • Callmelennie April 12, 2019, 11:18 AM


    And if the patient hasn’t revived by the @2:14 mark, just pull the plug, cause they ain’t never coming back

  • Missy April 12, 2019, 3:09 PM

    “Pine isn’t the best for such things but it’s free.” Ghost, honey, truer words were never spoken. This country mouse (moi) bucked 32 logs today from a huge, hideous, gnarly pine that fell up by the road. Now to deal with splitting them….

  • Mike-SMO April 12, 2019, 7:30 PM

    No mention of the power cutter-head [not in my jargon tool kit] that strips off the limbs and tops. Those end up as “fertilizer”. Only the trunks are carted off for “timber” or “pulp”. The “forest” and fire hazard are gone but much of the growth remains for the next cycle.

    Not a perfect solution but a workable one. It is, after all, a “crop” that is planted and then harvested.

  • Elmo April 13, 2019, 5:29 AM

    That’s a log processor, aka a harvesting head. They can be set up next to a yarder, work from a deck or cut and process at the stump.
    Logging in the 21st century has almost everyone in a cab, not on the ground.

  • ghostsniper April 13, 2019, 9:14 AM

    @Missy, wow, 32, I’m impressed. When you’re done get over here and deal with the 18 piece raw spaghetti stack out back that landed here last week. I pay good.

    @Mike, ever noticed those bags of colorful mulch at the big boxes? Do you think there are trillion acre farms in Iowa that grow that stuff? All that under growth, up to 8″ in diameter, is run through an industrial grade shredded then trucked to a factory where it’s sorted, cleaned, dyed, and bagged.

    @lennie, How, How, How, How…..

  • Gordon Scott April 13, 2019, 6:46 PM

    Ghost, it doesn’t happen only at factories. If you have a woodlot, there are companies that will come to you and dye all your wood chips whatever colors you desire.

    I was in the business, briefly. One cannot succeed nowadays without the machines. But there are some truly amazing machines out there. I lusted for one that allowed you to stick a hook in a log, and watch it pull the log in, chop it where you specified, then push that piece through a splitter that would slice it into 4, 8 or 16 wedges, depending on how fat the piece was.

    Then you could kiln dry it (can’t take any bugs across a state line). Gecher moisture meters here! The way to make money was to touch each piece the minimum you could. Hydraulics!

  • Casey Klahn April 13, 2019, 7:27 PM

    Holy fucking shit on a crossed log.

    People act like logging is a sin or at best a necessary evil. E. Vil.

    Had these forests been well managed (I don’t know but I suspect they were left alone too much) then fire damage would ‘ve been mitigated. Now, the best way forward will be to get some commerce from the chaos, and to clean up to make things safer.

    Casey Klahn. Of Forks and Hoquiam, WA. Where logging was a way of life when I grew up. Much like this video of Vancouver Island logging. Managing forests is no sin; it’s a goddamned imperative for civilized peoples.

  • ghostsniper April 14, 2019, 4:39 AM

    Gordon said: “…truly amazing machines out there…”

    Indeed there are. There’s a railroad track about a mile from here, that I mentioned in an earlier comment, that was requiring the replacement of just about everything. I heard the machinery down there and went to to see.

    “Truly amazing machines” were doing there thing. They road on the rails as that was the only consistent surface, were self powered, and seemed to have a mind of their own and knew what to do. The first machine pushed each tie out the opposite side from under the rails, then picked up a new tie from the large stacks that were all along the railroad, and pushed it back under the rails, then it picked up the old tie and stacked it like the new ones and advanced to the next tie. Like watching a clock.

    The next “truly amazing machine” was a few hundred feet behind the first one and it used a powerful torch to cut each rail at the exact same place then lifted them to a large truck bed on the back end, the rails were about 50′ long. The same machine lifted 2 new rails that were laid along the old tracks and dropped them perfectly into place, pounded in new spikes and plates, and the same torch welded them to the previous 2 new rails. Shields prevented the light from the torches from escaping. Then it advanced to the next position.

    The next machine looked like 2 dump trucks and a backhoe end to end. The backhoe scooped the ballast gravel from between the rails and deposited it into one truck then advanced and the second truck dropped new gravel into the just created void.

    Over and over and over all day long. I’d guess these machines would do a mile a day. Several humans were there acting as supervisors of sort and they carried shovels to do touch up work to the gravel, and each machine had one or 2 people on board making sure the machines did as directed. Amazing stuff and I never knew such machinery existed.

  • Casey Klahn April 14, 2019, 9:25 AM

    Ghostie, my wife’s cousin’s husband had a few month’s assignment (USFS) in Northern Canada, I think above and around Hudson’s Bay. He remarked that Canada is the land of cool trucks and machinery.

    Because we f around and prohibit commerce, they are able to drive a monster truck through the holes we leave in those markets.

  • captflee April 14, 2019, 10:39 AM

    Well, wow, logging has changed a bit in the nearly forty years since I last had a look in.
    I have previously spoken of my brief sojourn in Seattle; that ended when I abandoned my quest to ship out of one of the union halls there, in lieu of a deckhand job on a tug headed for Alaska. On the trip up the Inside Passage we towed a couple of barges, on which were lashed crab pots, pickups, containers, house trailers, what have you, which we put ashore as we progressed from Hoonah to Cold Bay. Once free of all cargo, we dropped off one deck barge and set about our main task with the other, the transport of timber from the logging camp at Icy Bay to the mill at Kachemak Bay, there to be squared and exported to Japan.
    At Icy Bay, yuuuge logs, we’re talking up to 6′ diameter by 60+’ length, were loaded athwartships on our barge, stacked frighteningly high. When down to her marks, off we went, traversing the not always placid Gulf over to the vicinity of Homer, where, if bad weather had already not done so, we dumped the logs into a corral at the mill. This was done by putting someone aboard the barge who opened a valve, which commenced the flooding of a longitudinal compartment. With the filling of said compartment, the barge increasingly listed until the barge shot sideways out from under the logs, which were quickly rounded up by several mini-tugs (boom boats) while we re-boarded the barge, closed the valve, began pumping out the water, and set out once again for Icy Bay. Quite a sight, that, millions of pounds of steel hopping sideways, occasionally “getting air” if condition were just right. The vidya below captures the flavor, though I will say that proximity to the operation assuredly increases the excitement factor.


  • captflee April 14, 2019, 11:08 AM

    Damn, sir! You come by your knowledge of logging, and of rain by honest means.
    Just how powerful are the rains of the Olympic Peninsula? Certainly not as violent as, say, Calcasieu Parish, where I have seen 23 inches in a 24 hr. period. No, but relentless…how relentless? Sufficient to drive me out of a tent I was sharing with a couple of very friendly hippy chicks, seeking a hot Meskin meal, at Mama’s in Belltown, if memory serves. And this from a man who to this day values, ummm, affection rather more highly than nutrition, and rather a lot more so as a dashing young larrikin. I find that in my dotage it is not the gourmet meals, but the ladies passed up that haunt me.

  • Casey Klahn April 14, 2019, 6:42 PM

    Greetings, Captain Flee.

    I’m a captain, too. But that was a half a life ago.

    I while ascending from private to captain of infantry did spend too much time in the Southern states. The rain is all different; of a much different sort. In the south, it rains whole dogs as fast as possible, overwhelms the storm drains (those fukkers always make them too small and they wipe out every time it thunders), and then clears up and your fatigues are dry again in less than half an hour. Hot. Buggy.

    In Hoquiam and on the Peninsula, it’s a matter of how long can it rain without stopping and then when it does it stays gray. The answer is so long that the assholes from Seattle would move there for professional reasons, and commit suicide after realizing that Seattle is a sun mecca and Hoquiam is a fukking rain forest. Goddamm feet of rain per year.

    The brilliant thing is on the Olympic Peninsula, the forests reseed themselves, and what you get is a temperate jungle. Perfect land for logging, in most ways. hard work. people killed. Companies would boom and bust, repeatedly, for generations. Then the courts came in and artificial permanent bust came on. Don’t ever talk to me about environment.

    The ladies, well, they were of a sort only imaginable by the stoutest of minds. I won’t continue in mixed company but it gets hairy.

    When I did a short winter in Alaska, there were more than a few of my people that I met. I dug your story of offloading those sort of big logs.

    I’ll drink a pint to ya when I can. Take er easy.