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Timber Harvesting Safety

On July 12, AbitibiBowater announced that its Coosa Pines, Alabama pulp mill had signed a five-year contract with Alabama Power to provide the utility with 15 megawatts of generating capacity, as an element in its ongoing reconfiguration. In February, the mill stated that it would cease paper manufacturing, to concentrate on fluff pulp.

Several reports of serious injuries and fatalities associated with log trucking have come to our attention recently:

        This spring’s Wallow fire had burned 520,000 acres in Arizona as of June 18, causing the evacuation of eight communities, and has now moved into New Mexico; among other consequences, the National Weather Service warns that the extensive burns on the White Mountains “will make numerous locations vulnerable to flash floods and debris flows” even in moderate-intensity rains and urged those in the watershed to take precautions, at least during the coming summer. On June 18, the fire was rated as 51% contained.

        The third quadrennial In-Woods Expo of forestry and logging equipment drew over 1,100 loggers to a 300-acre managed forest near Hot Springs, Arkansas, May 19-21, to view and evaluate timber harvesting and processing equipment in action on large demo sites representative of challenging logging conditions.

        This spring’s catastrophic tornado season continues at this writing, with the storm system that had already caused great loss of life and property now moving from Kansas and Oklahoma into Arkansas. In terms of damage to forest assets, the late April storms inflicted their worst damage in Alabama, with State Forester Linda Casey citing losses of “tens of thousands of acres of forests.”

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