There are plenty of potential dangers the timberland can face during the summer, like unchecked erosion damage from winter, insect, or disease outbreak. But there’s one risk that threatens forest health during the summer more than any others—and that’s forest fires.
As we’ve seen in the forest fires that have swept the country in the past year (the summer and fall of 2017 saw Oregon, California, and other Western states devastated by large-scale wildfires), it only takes a single flame to ignite a forest. That’s why it’s so important to protect our forests against fire—and Timber Products is committed to taking every precaution necessary to protect and maintain forest health this summer (and every summer to come).
How Timber Products Is Maintaining Summer Forest Health and Protecting Against Forest Fires
“So obviously, fires are the most substantial risk that we face on Mich-Cal timberlands, so we take a lot of precautions to minimize the risk of having a fire start on one of our logging operations,” says Chris Chase, Timberland Manager for Michigan-California Timber Company (an affiliate of Timber Products).
“Every spring, our entire forestry staff goes through Fire Suppression Training and Fire Safety Training. All of our foresters carry fire tools, extinguishers, chainsaws and safety equipment with them in the woods. Mich-Cal has its own fire pumper trailer with a water tank, a hose reel and fire tools on it that we can transport up to where we need it. We've got communications equipment that allows us to get the word out to the agencies if we do discover a fire in a remote area. All of our contractors are required to carry fire tools [and] have a water pumper with a hose reel on-site.”
Chase and his team carefully monitor weather patterns to stay on top of potential fire hazards. “We do a lot of monitoring of weather conditions… [we’re] always monitoring wind temperature, relative humidity and fuel moisture. And if any of those, particularly relative humidity, if it drops below...a critical threshold, we’ll suspend operations in the woods just because the risk gets too great.”
Partnering with the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
Timber Products is so committed to maintaining forest health and preventing forest fires that they’ve partnered with the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. “The Board of Forestry’s mission is to develop policies and programs that result in the sustainable management of forests in the state and to provide a fire protection system that serves the people," Chase says.
He continued, "My role as one of nine members of that board is to help achieve that mission,” says Chase. “When you look at what we've gone through in the past four or five years with extensive tree mortality and now catastrophic wildfire affecting nearly the entire state, we need to look hard at our programs and policies and see what we can do to minimize that risk, protect the people and ensure that forests continue to provide all the benefits that we demand of them.”