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Lincoln Company Quickly Salvaging Lumber From Rim, American Fires

LINCOLN (CBS13) - A Lincoln business is salvaging logs from two major California fires, and says getting to the trees early is the key to replanting them for the future.

Logging trucks are loading up at Sierra Pacific Industries following a fiery summer season.

"We had a couple large fires here in California: The Rim Fire and the American Fire," said Mark Luster, a spokesperson with Sierra Pacific Industries.

The trees may be burnt, but are still very useful.

"These logs still have a good value if you can capture these within the first 18 months," said Luster.

Any longer than that and the logs lose their worth, rotting and decaying. So Sierra Pacific Industries has moved in to salvage the remains.

"If you look at the center of the tree, you can see that wood fiber still looks pretty good," said Luster.

The technique Sierra Pacific uses is called forest thinning.

"What we do is file a special exemption, a special emergency exemption because of the fire and we can go in there with all the same environmental protections, but we get in and harvest right away," said Luster.

According to Sierra Pacific, on their land, the fire burns differently.

"It allows us to reduce the severity of the fires. So when a fire burns on Sierra Pacific land, because you have a thin forest, say 150 to 200 trees per acre instead of 500 to 1000 trees per acre, you have less fuel. So the fire won't burn as hot," said Luster.

Now, the plan is to replant within the year, for a profitable future.

"We'll have healthier forests for generations to come, and allows us to manage on a sustainable basis," said Luster.

Sierra Pacific is still processing the charred lumber.

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