Fires to Fiber: Accelerating Timber Salvage in British Columbia's Wildfire Zones

Image Source: Weyerhaeuser

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British Columbia is streamlining the process for salvaging timber damaged by wildfires.

This follows concerns that valuable wood loses its worth quickly after a fire. New regulations aim to get permits into the hands of forestry companies and First Nations faster, allowing them to recover usable timber before it degrades.

The move benefits both industry and the environment. Sawmills, pulp, and pellet mills can access a valuable source of fiber, while removing fire-damaged trees reduces the risk of future blazes. Additionally, faster salvage operations contribute to the economic well-being of forestry-dependent communities by creating jobs and supporting local businesses.

The B.C. government estimates over 1 million cubic meters of timber from 2023 wildfires already has permits for salvage. This translates to roughly 28,000 logging truckloads. The province is also forming a committee to oversee salvage efforts and ensure they are conducted efficiently and sustainably.