PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s forest-dependent businesses and industries suffered an estimated $5.9 billion in economic losses as a result of the Labor Day wildfires that one year ago burned more than a million acres across the western part of the state, a newly released study commissioned by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) concludes.
Conducted by experts from the natural resource consulting firm Mason, Bruce & Girard, in partnership with the forestry economic analysis and forecasting firm Forest Economic Advisors, the 104-page study looked at the economic impacts of last year’s Labor Day fires on Oregon’s forest sector, which ranged from lost timber and logging equipment to forest restoration efforts made more difficult by a shortage of tree seedlings.
The Labor Day 2020 Fires: Economic Impacts to Oregon’s Forest Sector study report can be downloaded here. The report looks at the various ways forest landowners and businesses, such as logging companies and sawmills, were affected by last year’s fires, finding that the Labor Day wildfires had substantial impacts on the sector, and will continue to impact Oregon’s timber supply, forest-related employment and other economic factors well into the future.
The analysis focuses 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 also investigated the scale and costs of needed post-fire forest restoration, including infrastructure repair, erosion control, stream protection and reforestation.
About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:
The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) in 1991 to support and enhance Oregon’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and encouraging 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.