PORTLAND, Ore. – The 2020 Labor Day wildfires that burned more than a million acres across western Oregon heavily affected the state’s forest-dependent businesses and industries. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) has commissioned a study that will look at the economic impacts of those fires on Oregon’s forest sector, ranging from lost timber and logging equipment to forest restoration efforts made more difficult by a shortage of loggers, tree seedlings and tree planters.
Experts from the natural resource consulting firm Mason, Bruce & Girard, in partnership with the forestry economic analysis and forecasting firm Forest Economic Advisors, will produce a report, scheduled to be completed in late June, that will look at various ways forest landowners and businesses such as logging companies and sawmills were affected by last year’s fires.
The analysis will focus on the fires’ impact in terms of acreage burned and timber lost across public and private forestland, the economic value of timber lost in the fires, the potential to salvage timber burned in the fires, and the long-term impact on future timber supply to the state’s wood products manufacturing sector. The study will also investigate the scale and costs of needed post-fire forest restoration, including infrastructure repair, erosion control, stream protection and reforestation. Other topics that will be covered in the report include the value of federal timber under contract to be harvested that burned before it could be logged, and an estimate of the impact of the fires on Oregon’s forest-related employment.
OFRI plans to publish the full report, along with a shorter report summarizing its findings, this summer.
About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:
The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1991 to advance public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and to encourage sustainable forestry through landowner education. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.