March April, 2004

 

 

 

 

IN THE NEWS

Less Timber From Biscuit Fire
There may be 30 percent less timber in the 500,000 acres scorched by the 2002 Biscuit Fire in southwestern Oregon. That figure comes from a preliminary report by U.S. Forest Service scientists. The Pacific Northwest Research Station found that in areas that burned the hottest, killing all the trees, current stands were young and less valuable. The bigger, more valuable trees tended to be on the west side of the fire, which gets more rain. Those areas burned less intensely, increasing the chances of the trees’ survival. David Azuma, lead author of the report, says, “If we can’t give them an exact number, which may be the same number they have now, at least the estimate will be done on real data, and not a modeled version.” The Biscuit Fire, the nation’s biggest fire in 2002, has become the center of an intense debate over whether it is better to salvage timber killed in wildfires, possibly speeding up restoration or to leave forests to recover naturally as environmentalists and ecologists advocate. Circle Reader Service Card 102

New Hours-of-Service for Truckers
The U.S. Department of Transportation's updated hours-of-service rule for truck drivers went into effect. The new rule allows truckers to drive 11 hours (previously 10), after 10 consecutive hours (previously eight) off-duty. Drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th on-duty hour. Truckers are still prohibited from driving after being on duty for 60 hours within any period of seven consecutive days, or for 70 hours in any period of eight consecutive days. This on-duty cycle can only be “restarted” once a driver has been off duty for at least 34 consecutive hours. Detailed information about the rules may be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/Home_Files/revised_hos.asp, or by calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s toll-free help line at (800) 598-5664.

Recent Changes to Cargo Securement Regulations
The Forest Resources Association (FRA) reported that, as of January 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) interim enforcement policies for certain sections of the new Cargo Securement Regulations went into effect. Until the FMCSA addresses certain provisions within the published regulations, enforcement personnel will follow these policies:
• The aggregate working load limit for tiedowns used to secure a stack of logs on a trailer fitted with bunks, stakes, or standards must be within at least 1/6 the weight of the stack of logs (down from 1/2 times the weight).
• Shortwood logs (16’ or less)loaded lengthwise between the first two standards and between the last two standards may be secured with one tiedown positioned about midway between the stakes (this replaces the requirement that each stack of short-wood loaded lengthwise be secured by at least two tiedowns).
• Longwood logs (over 16’) loadedlengthwise must be cradled in two or more bunks and must either:
(1) be secured by at least two tiedowns or
(2) be bound by tiedown devices used as wrappers that encircle the entire load.

Securement of logs transported on pole trailers calls for at least one tiedown at each bunk, or at least two tiedowns used as wrappers that encircle the entire load. For more information, including the text of the FRA’s recent Information Alert on these recent changes in the Cargo Securement Regulations, see the version of this article in the electronic FRA Bulletin, or contact FRA Director of Forestry Programs, Steve Jarvis, at (301) 838-9385.

Burned Trees Leaving Bonners Ferry
One of the first U.S. Forest Service projects taking place under the federal Healthy Forests Act is the removal of trees from the Bonners Ferry, Idaho watershed. About 547,000 board feet of salvaged timber was sold to Louisiana-Pacific as part of the Mama Cascade Timber Sale contract. The project is being fast-tracked so the money from the trees can be used for protection of the city’s water supply. It was a team effort, as the Forest Service worked with city officials to design the project. Every effort is being made to protect the city’s water supply, including all tree removal by helicopters to ensure no ground damage.

Fewer Wildlife Surveys
Federal agencies no longer need to look for and protect approximately 300 rare plants and animals in Northwest forests prior to logging, said the Bush administration this past January. This reprieve should help boost timber sales in western forests in Oregon, Washington and Northern California, while also saving millions of dollars that officials say could be better spent removing brush and small trees from fire-prone forests. Some believe that this leaves some 57 rare and little-known species at high risk of extermination. But the timber industry has for a long time felt that the surveys were unwarranted and a leading reason why logging in federal forests has dropped sharply in the past decade. Industry leaders cheered the news that the administration plans to halt the survey program. The change should help the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. “We’re pleased with what they have come up with at this point,” said Bob Ragon, executive director of Douglas Timber Operators in Roseburg. “It’ll be interesting to see if public agencies have done an adequate job in documenting how they plan to deal with sensitive species, and if it will pass muster with a federal judge.”

TW

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 28, 2004